Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

Cairo — The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will discuss in Accra on Friday the staging of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) following reports that host nation Cameroon’s preparations were in difficulties.

The executive committee will meet in the Ghanaian capital on the sidelines of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament, an official told AFP.

A report of the past two inspection visits to the Central African state will be made during the meeting. CAF inspectors recently travelled to the country, which last hosted the tournament in 1972, to check security, infrastructure, stadiums and accommodation.

After the executive committee meeting, a decision on whether Cameroon should continue as host of the June 15-July 13 African football showpiece is set to be made.

If Cameroon is rejected, CAF will have to launch a new application procedure to designate another host country for the biennial tournament first staged in Sudan 61 years ago.

Morocco, which lost out to a US-Mexico-Canada bid to host the 2026 World Cup, has regularly been reported as a possible replacement for Cameroon.

At a September executive committee meeting at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, CAF noted "a significant delay in the realisation of the infrastructures" necessary for holding the Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But CAF president Ahmad Ahmad declared in October that his organisation "did not have a plan B".

"CAF has never thought about withdrawing from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. It depends on Cameroon," he stressed after talks with President Paul Biya.

Cameroon Football Federation head Happi Dieudonne assured executives that "Cameroon would be ready" to organise the Cup of Nations.

Cameroon is experiencing a tense security situation with attacks by Boko Haram jihadists and a conflict between the army and separatists.

The 2019 Cup of Nations will be the first to feature 24 teams — up from 16 at the 2017 edition in Gabon. It will also be the first Cup of Nations played during June and July after the last CAF president, Issa Hayatou, refused to budge from the traditional January-February timetable.

The January kick-off meant many Africans with clubs in the leading European leagues had to leave their clubs in the middle of the season for up to six weeks.

Cameroon, as host, and 12 other countries, including record seven-time champions Egypt, have qualified for the 2019 tournament.

The other 11 places will be decided during the final qualifiers in March.

AFP