The Confederation of African Football have dismissed rumours that next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) could be moved away from Cameroon following the recent discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The new variant has led to travel restrictions being introduced by some countries for several African nations, with Nigeria, which neighbours Cameroon, the latest to be added to the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’.
In recent days, some media organisations have suggested the dates of the 24-team tournament could change or even the location be moved, possibly to Qatar.
Caf’s director of communications, Alex Siewe says neither his organisation nor leading Cameroon officials have discussed such events.
“We can’t keep spending time dealing with rumours,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“We did not receive any other message or information from our leaders—nothing such as changing of dates or countries. We did not discuss such during all our last meetings. We are on site. We are working.”
Africa’s football showpiece, which has already been delayed because of the global pandemic, is due to kick off on January 9 in Yaounde with the final on February 6. Staff from the Caf arrived in Cameroon this week to organise the Afcon finals.
“An official delegation from Caf has been released and general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is joining us in two days,” Siewe added.
The European Club Association, an independent body that represents clubs across Europe, has expressed its “deep concerns” regarding player welfare before the tournament, adding that the public health situation “continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner”.
Kenya’s national team, Harambee Stars, will be a no show at the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations. Algeria is the defending champions, having won the 2019 edition.
Kenya’s slim hopes of qualifying for the continental showpiece were dimmed after settling for a 1-1 draw with Egypt in their penultimate Group ‘G’ qualifier at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Other than hosts Cameroon and champions Algeria, other nations expected in the tournament include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea.
Others are Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, G. Bissau and Malawi. Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Sudan and Zimbabwe will also participate.
Source: The Star.co.ke