The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Cameroon are expected to announce later this week a raft of health protocols to be followed during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to start in January.
CAF has already deployed officials to Cameroon, the host country of the continental tournament, to assess its readiness to host the event that will run from January 9 to February 6, 2022.
As the preparations continue, CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba on Tuesday held several meetings with Camerroonian officials, including the Minister of Sport, Professor Narcise Mouelle Kombi and Minister of Public Health Manaouda Malachie.
“The meetings were important in getting a level of understanding on the state of readiness in Cameroon. There is a lot of work that is being done,” said Mosengo-Omba. “We have to continue with the same momentum. We cannot rest. We have to work around the clock. I’m not resting, the LOC cannot rest. CAF cannot rest. Everyone must join the efforts. We want to see a great Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations here in Cameroon in January next year.”
The latest developments come as fears grow over the possibility of the tournament, which was postponed from its initial January-February 2020 dates, being postponed again amid a spike in COVID-19 cases on the continent and the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
Countries remain on high alert in efforts to contain further spread of Omicron, but by Wednesday, nearly 80 countries globally had reported cases.
The emergence of the new variant has also prompted cancellations of other sporting events, including the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2022 Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament and the United Rugby Championship.
CAF is however remaining positive over the 2021 AFCON continuing as scheduled and has urged Cameroon to fast-track its preparations to ensure that everything is in place for the opening game.