AFCON hosting challenge, round two

EDITORIAL 07 Aug 2019
AFCON hosting  challenge, round two

Cameroonians are yet to absorb the shock of having lost both the hosting rights of the 2019 AFCON competitions, and the opportunity to retain its position as African champions. In the competitions proper the indomitable lions failed to make it to the quarter finals. Both shocks are virtually humiliating though in various degrees.
To diehard football lovers, the humiliation is in line with the spirit of all sports contests, which as a rule demands that any of the contesting parties that looses must accept defeat in good faith. We are certain that this rule has since been respected and football lovers are now simply waiting for another opportunity, just as it should be.
To the Cameroonian people in general, however, with a pride to defend a nation widely acknowledged to be a big football country, at least, at the level of the African continent, the mere fact that out of our own making, we were unable to fulfill conditions that would have qualified us to host this continental event with honour. It turned out to be a national disgrace, the result of which we shall continue to hide our faces in shame for a very long time. We in this Newspaper count it as not simply shameful, but a deep wound we have inflicted on ourselves as a football nation that has produced such stars as Roger Mila, Eto, Patrick Mboma, to name just these few, knowing very well that we have a long list of football legends who have made Cameroon proud in world football. We can only consider this turn of events as an ill wind that turned against us. May it not happen again!
However, just as if our prayers are about to be carried to the wrong gods, we have begun receiving red signals that are threatening, if not challenging our chances of hosting AFCON 2021. The name of Algeria, the current African champions, is already flexing their muzzles to take over where Cameroon fails again. If however the declaration by the Algerian minister of youth and sports, Raouf Belmaoul, is anything to go by, then we are out for another round of a challenge we may not be able to withstand. The issue becomes even more complicated by reports that CAF has already made an official demand for Algeria to get ready to host the 2021 AFCON.
Underneath this bubble therefore, there could lie the possibility that CAF has already chosen Algeria as their plan B, to host the African Cup of Nations should Cameroon fail to meet standards. This is pretty risky for Cameroon. To be honest to ourselves, the principal reason for which we failed to qualify was the security situation in the country. And the way things are going the next two years before the competition, we hardly see us moving out of this dilemma.
We are certainly not trying to act the prophet of doom. The authorities may lay claim to their ability to meet the conditions for qualification especially in the area of infrastructure, but our fear is that the security situation is what CAF will lay their emphasis. In the two English speaking regions of the country, the North West and South West, the arms confrontation between the government and the separatists persists, without both parties coming any way closer to the much desired dialogue.
In the northern part of the country, there is the threat of the Islamic insurgence. On the other hand, is the latest development, being the prisons riots which shook parts of the country recently. All these put together, do not paint a good image of a country that was once regarded as an island of peace in a boisterous sea. Neither does it give us the merit to host an event such as this.
Our most fervent wish is for government to address the security situation with some seriousness and honesty. Let this senseless war not rob us of all that makes us a nation proud, swith conscience, especially the respect for the human person. We urge government to do everything possible to put an end to these senseless killings. We strongly believe government can do it via good faith.

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