Amid concerns about the economic landscape in Cameroon and the delayed construction schedule, there were reports that the country would have a hard time hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
However, the sports minister Ismael Bidoung has assured the public that they are ready to host the rest of the continent in 2019.
“Despite security concerns, social and economic crises, the government and President Paul Biya are totally engaged to do everything for the Nations Cup to go ahead,” the minister said.
The defending champions of the AFCON title insist that they would be very good host but Algeria and Morocco are gearing up as back-up options. The minister said the group games would go on as planned in the original bid: Yaounde, Garoua, Douala and Bafoussam. He said the city of Limbe has been added to make it five.
More venues are required for training but Bidoung says all factors are being considered.
“Of the 32 stadia require for the 2019 Nations Cup, the 11 that served for the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations are ready and functional. For the 21 other stadia, 14 are under rehabilitation and 7 are still be constructed,” Bidoung said.
Italian company Piccini is handling the reconstruction of the Yaounde stadium. The firm said most of the material would be precast in Italy before being shipped to Cameroon. It promised to meet the project deadline which is three months before the finals.
A former international of the African side Patrick Mboma says he has been sending distress signal for some time now. He is very fearful about the pace of work and doubts that it would be completed before time.
CAF recently announced that the event would be moved from January to June 2019. The African soccer ruling body added that the teams would be expanded to 24 instead of 16.