The continent’s football governing body has been under enormous pressure to cancel the biennial championship, but the organisation maintains no such decision has been taken
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has dispelled rumours that it is considering cancelling the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations while maintaining its resolve to see the competition commence in Cameroon in January as planned.
Cameroon 2021, scheduled to run from January 9 to February 6, is the 33rd edition of the Afcon, and it is set to be the biggest in history.
Twenty-four teams will participate in the finals, with the Super Eagles, who recently replaced head coach Gernot Rohr with Augustine Eguavoen, chasing a fourth title. The Nigerian national team won the championship in 1980, 1994, and 2013.
But CAF has been under immense pressure to cancel the Afcon, with the European Club Association recently threatening to block the release of their players to join up with the respective national squads.
The spread of the Omicron variant of Covid across Africa is equally a significant concern.
And a recent report emanating from France claimed that CAF was close to announcing the decision to cancel the competition.
But CAF continues to put everything in place to ensure the Afcon kicks off on the stipulated date.
The body’s General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is currently in Cameroon, and he insists the singular focus is to ensure a successful Afcon.
“There is a lot of work that is being done,” Mosengo-Omba told Cafonline.
“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 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations here in Cameroon in January next year.”
Three-time African champions Nigeria are one of the favourites to lift the Afcon in Cameroon.
The Super Eagles – boasting Victor Osimhen (a major doubt for the competition), Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Emmanuel Dennis, Paul Onuachu, and Anthony Nwakaeme – have one of the most fearsome attacks on the continent.
But the Eguavoen-led side will face a considerable challenge from hosts Cameroon, record winners Egypt, bitter rivals Ghana, and defending champions Algeria.