AFCON 2019: CAF Inspection Team in Cameroon

Proposed Y'de Olembe Stadium

The first inspection team  from the Confederation of African Football CAF are already in Cameroon as the country prepares to host Africa’s biggest sporting event, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2019. The 10 man delagation made up of five CAF and five from the approved auditing firm are due in Cameroon from 11th to 23rd of January 2018.  The inspection of Cameroon’s infrastructure to host the competition will be carried out by the European group Roland Berger that was handed over the task in November 2017.

The team will inspect six football grounds, training facilitates, hotels, telecommunication and road networks in the host cities of Yaounde, Douala, Limbe, Bafoussam and Garoua. These include the Yaounde Ahmadou Ahijo and Olembe stadia, the Douala Japoma stadium under construction, the Douala Reunification stadium, the Mbappe Leppe and Bonamousadi training grounds. Limbe Ominsport Stadium and its accompanying training grounds at Middle Farm, Centenary Stadium, and the Buea Ominisport Stadium, Garoua Roumde Ajia Stadium to be refurbish and extended from 16 to 20 000 seats and its  two annex training grounds, the Cenejas, Gendarmarie and Poumpoure fields and the Bafoussam Kwekong Ominsport Stadium with its two training grounds and the Mbouda and Bandjoun fields.

Roland Berger officials will also scrutinize Cameroon’s road networks in these cities if they will be able to handle an influx of visitors during the competition. Sofar, only Douala has received substantial improvement on its road network with the construction of expanded roads into the city from the North and south east entrances and the construction of another bridge over the Wouri.

They will also examine the telecommunication network, notably broadband internet access and facilities which so far are good with the laying of the optic fibre network in the country. But the there will be need for some considerable upgrade of the mobile telecommunication network to meet up with the expanded demand of Voice, data and messaging services during the tournament.

Lodging facilities will also be on the menu with Cameroon expected to have four stars hotels to host the various official delegations to the tournament. Cameroon will have problems here in Bafoussam and Garoua where the facilities would have to be fully upgraded to meet up with the standards. For Limbe, Douala and Yaounde, the hotels facilities may require simple renovations.

This would be the first inspection visit since Cameroon launched preparations ahead of the tournament. The first visit was scheduled for last September before being canceled at the last minute due to the withdrawal of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) the first independent auditor chosen by CAF. PwC renounced to the audit in August 2017 prompting delays in the process as CAF searched for an alternative.

Cameroon has 18 months to meet up with the expectations to host the competition. The Local Organizing Committee is fine turning its preparation ahead of the highly awaited inspection tour. Ahmad Ahmad, CAF executive Committee President said in August 2017, during a visit in Burkina Faso, that Cameroon was not ready to host the tournament, provoking a wave of protests back home. Many Cameroonians interpreted his comments as indication that he wanted to hand over AFCON 2019 to Morocco as a revenge for his country’s (Madagascar) suspension as the host of an Africa U-20 Cup of Nations when Issa Hayatou, a Cameroonian, was chairing the executive committee of CAF.

Beside these, Cameroon will need to prove to the inspection team that they are on track with preparations ahead of the tournament. Cameroon had initially bided to host a 16 team tournament but CAF decided on July 20, 2017 to increase the number of participating teams to 24 and moving from January/February to June/July the period to host the competition. This accorded Cameroon a few more months to prepare for the tournament.

 Here is the program of the visit

• 12 & 13 January, Yaoundé
• 14 & 15 January, Garoua
• 16 & 17 January,  Bafoussam
• 18 &19 January, Douala
• 20 &21 January, Limbe and Buea
• 23 January, CAF Excellence Centre in Mbankomo, Mbankomo
END OF FIRST VISIT

By Abongwa Fozo

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