- Title: Cameroon continues with plans to host pan-African soccer tournaments
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: YAOUNDE, CAMEROON (FILE - JANUARY 12, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF OLEMBE STADIUM UNDER CONSTRUCTION LIMBE, CAMEROON (JANUARY 22, 2020) (REUTERS) PITCH AT LIMBE STADIUM BACK OF GOAL POST IN LIMBE STADIUM SUBSTITUTE BENCH IN LIMBE STADIUM LIMBE, CAMEROON (FILE - AUGUST 7 2018) (REUTERS) AERIAL VIEW OF LIMBE STADIUM YAOUNDE, CAMEROON (FILE - JANUARY 12, 2018) (REUTERS) PITCH IN AHMADOU AHIDJO STADIUM STANDS IN AHMADOU AHIDJO STADIUM
- Embargoed: 27th March 2020 08:45
- Keywords: 2020 African Nations Championship African Cup of Nations Cameroon Football Federation Indomitable Lions
- Location: DOUALA, YAOUNDE, AND LIMBE, CAMEROON / LIBREVILLE, GABON
- City: DOUALA, YAOUNDE, AND LIMBE, CAMEROON / LIBREVILLE, GABON
- Country: Somalia
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA004C4VYDLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As Cameroon is finalizing preparations to host the next African Cup of Nations, local Douala youth player Emmanuel Lobe hopes the national team will improve their performance while the country's football federation says it will organize the best tournament possible.
The Indomitable Lions did not perform well in Egypt, they started with a stand-off with their football authorities over pay and bonuses and were knocked out by Nigeria in the Cup's round of 16.
For 14-year-old Lobe, who dreams of one day playing for the Lions, the team needs to get back on track and forget about last summer's disappointing footballing display.
''The last African Cup of Nations in Egypt was truly upsetting. We didn't perform, we didn't cope. It was very hard for us but with time it will be okay,'' he said.
In late 2018 the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided to strip the right to stage the 2019 African Cup of Nations finals from Cameroon because of delays in its preparations and security concerns.
Cameroon's ability to host the finals was first questioned when CAF announced in July of that year that the tournament would have eight additional teams and only countries capable of putting on a world-class tournament, with complete facilities and extensive infrastructure, would be allowed to stage the event.
But now the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) who announced the tournament will revert back to its traditional slot in January and February, believe they will organize the best tournament possible for African fans.
"We are facing some little problems but more important we want to do, we want to give the best. We are expecting this competition for almost 40 years now because since 1972. So now we are going to, we want to give to Africans one of the best AFCON they ever had," FECAFOOT's Secretary General Benjamin Didier Banlock said.
Out of the seven stadia selected for the tournament, six of them are said to be ready to host games. They are the Japoma and Bepanda Reunification stadia in Douala, the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in YaoundÃ©, the Roumde Adjia stadium in Garoua, the Limbe stadium, and the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam.
The Olembe Sports Complex in the capital YaoundÃ©, which has the capacity to sit 60,000 people, is still in the finishing stages but Cameroon's Sports Minister, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi is confident it will be ready for the tournament.
Not everyone believes Kombi's assurances regarding various aspects of the country's preparations.
"Our national team always has a few problems. We have a problem of administration. Our administration is too slow. Therefore, we prepare poorly. When the African Cup of Nations ends, we wait until the next edition is close to start preparing. Other African countries prepare way ahead of time. When the African Cup of Nations ends, they start preparing for the next edition but we wait a few days before the competition to start our preparations," said Mbella who coaches a local team in Douala, the country's economic capital and largest city.
Cameroon will face a full-scale test from April 4 when it hosts the 2020 African Nations Championship, a tournament restricted to footballers who play in their country of birth.
Lobe remains optimistic and hopes to see his team put on a display similar to the one they produced in Gabon in 2017 when the Indomitable Lions won the tournament for the fifth time in their history.
''My dream for next year's African Cup of Nations in Cameroon is to see our nation with a great squad and for them to play good football. We can win the trophy and keep it (the trophy) in the country," he said.
(Production: Blaise Eyong Okie, Estelle Ndjandjo, Christophe Van Der Perre)
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