Gone are the last speculations and allegations about a probable postponement of the 33rd edition of the African Cup of Nations (CAN). From January 9 to February 6, 2022, Cameroon will indeed host, as planned, the most important sporting event on the continent. Confirmation was given on December 21, 2021 in Yaoundé, during an audience at the Unity Palace between the Cameroonian Head of State Paul Biya and the President of the African Football Confederation (CAF), Patrice Motsepe .
“I will be in Cameroon on January 7, 2022. And I’m coming to see football. Mainly, to experience the opening match, Cameroon-Burkina Faso, on January 9. And I will stay to see what Samuel Eto’o told me, namely that Cameroon will keep the trophy, ”said the boss of continental football.
An unambiguous speech which definitively closes the debate on a possible postponement of the CAN and which gives a boom to the hearts of millions of football fans, beyond the 24 selections of the continent who will take part in this sporting game. Just after this confirmation from CAF, several selections announced that they will go “directly to the green”, in order to refine the preparation before the kick-off of what Cameroonians want “the most beautiful CAN in history”.
The Omicron variant is still a concern
The competition taking place in a pandemic context with what this entails as crowd movements, therefore risk of the spread of the disease, “our concern today relates to the fight against the Omicron variant of Covid-19”, declared the president of the CAF. Hence the commitment to respect the best protocols to fight the pandemic.
“We must believe in our capacities, as Africans, to work together, while recognizing the heavy responsibility which falls on us to protect the health and to preserve the lives of the guests who will come from outside Cameroon, the spectators, the visitors, players and officials. We have a non-negotiable commitment to this effect, “he insisted, reiterating that access to the stadiums will be subject to the Health Pass.
A first CAN with 24 participants
Faced with the maneuvers of FIFA (Federation international de football association), certain sports confederations and European clubs in particular not to release African players for the CAN, Patrice Motsepe confided that CAF will apply the rules decreed by FIFA, before to express the wish to see the best African players playing in European competitions to take part in the CAN “to participate in the development of football in their continent”.
For the first time, CAN will compete with 24 teams divided into six pools including two in Yaoundé, one in Douala, Bafoussam, Garoua and Limbé.