Patrice Motsepe, Africa’s football president, reaffirmed on Tuesday that the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) would go place in Cameroon next month as scheduled, despite the Omicron-variant-driven rise in Covid-19 cases.
“I am going to watch, on the 9th of January, Cameroon and Burkina Faso (in the opening match),” Motsepe said, dispelling rumors that the already delayed continental showpiece could fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following talks with President Paul Biya of Cameroon, Motsepe gave the green light to the AFCON.
However, the 59-year-old was quick to emphasize the hazards posed by the new strain that is responsible for recording daily positive case counts.
“Omicron is an enormous challenge,” Motsepe said, guaranteeing that nobody would be allowed to set foot in the stadiums without a negative PCR test.
Cameroon was scheduled to host the African football showcase in 2019 but fell behind in preparations, prompting Egypt to come in as late replacements.
The dates of the 2021 tournament have been moved twice, first due to concerns that excessive seasonal rains would disrupt the tight timetable, and again due to the pandemic.