Cameroon Sports Minister relaunch activities to host CHAN 2021

Cameroon’s Minister of Sport and Physical Education has urged officials of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2021 African Nations Football Championship, CHAN to redouble efforts to ensure the Central African Nation stage a successful tournament next year.

The competition reserved exclusively for home-based players in Africa was postponed from April this year to January 2021 by the Confederation of African Football, CAF on June 30th amid threats from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Narcisse Mouelle Kombi who doubles as the President of the Local organizing committee for the CHAN 2021 revealed after the third ordinary session of COCAN – the first enlarged meeting in five months – that the task accomplished is remarkable but insist more work must be done if Cameroon should host the continental football tournament with telling effects.

He remains upbeat that plans to speed up work within the various sectors concerned will play a key role to enable the host to emerge victorious with both the organisation and at participation.

“Up to March the essential and most important has been done. Today, I urge all the operational and technical structures of COCAN to rise in power with two main aims. First, the best organisation of this very important competition next January. The participation with a good performance why not with a victory for our national team involved in this very important competition,” he explained.

Kombi had earlier taken part in a video conference meeting with some CAF officials shortly before he chaired the third session of COCAN to enable them to have an overview of the various aspects related to the preparation and organization of the continental showpiece in Cameroon. He revealed that the officials from the CAF had expressed their satisfaction with the state of preparation in the context marked by the global Covid-19 crises.

Present at the session were regional governers, chairpersons of site committees, the President of the Cameroon Football Federation, the tournament manager, chairpersons of technical committees, site coordinators, mayors of CHAN host cities, and general coordinators of the stadiums hosting the competition.

All these football officials had various presentations to make with regards to the CHAN and how far they have progressed in their respective spheres of influence.

This session placed within the context of the operational relaunch of activities of COCAN enabled the Minister of Sport and physical education, to make various recommendations with the view to a good organisation of the CHAN.

He urged all members of COCAN to redouble their efforts and commitment by taking necessary initiatives for a perfect organization of the competition.

More so, Kombi disclosed that the technical committee should remain and maintain a climate of trust and fruitful collaboration with CAF officials, reacting promptly to all their request.

By reactivating the various organs of COCAN 2021 and their substructures, the sport supremo is upbeat they will tackle the final phase for preparation ahead of CHAN due to take place in Cameroon in January 2021.

Kombi went on to urge the President of Fecafoot Seidou Mbombo Njoya, who doubles as Vice President of COCAN to take all necessary and effective measures in compliance with the safety measures recommended with the government for the relaunch of the national championship, to enjoy a good preparation of the Intermediate Indomitable Lions for their final victory at the next year’s competition.

Njoya has confirmed via twitter September 26 as the date to restart the country’s first and second-tier league but maintained the date could be shifted if the current health crises persist.

Also, the country’s football regulatory body has disclosed that players called up to camp will have to go through Covid-19 test and access to the site will be restricted to unauthorized persons.

The Coordinator of the technical staff of Cameroon’s auxiliary team, Gweha Ikouam told Cameroon State media, CRTV that there is a detailed plan to bring the Intermediate Lions to top form by January.

“We are going to take the thirty players that we had at the last camp and then we will prepare them physically and athletically to play a very good season. And when the season will start, we are also going to look for new players that are going to join the others,” Ikouam said.

“Also, we have talked about the technical staff which should have more people to fight against any difficulties that we can have concerning COVID. We have talked also about the friendly games during the first step with teams like DR Congo, Rwanda. We have not played with teams from North Africa for example.

“So now, maybe we should play also with teams coming from South Africa, Botswana because styles of play are very different from one region to the other. Maybe play also with Eastern African clubs because we have to know not only teams that we are going to meet in their first-round but very careful we have to be with those that we can meet at the second round.”

Cameroon will be aiming for their maiden CHAN title when they host the tournament in four months. They face Mali, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso in Group A.

Four cities were selected to host games: Yaounde, Douala and Limbe-Buea with the various pitches already set for action. The Yaounde Military stadium which has been set aside to treat COVID-19 patients will be replaced by the BEAC stadium although some few works still need to be done.

“Everything is ready. It is true the military stadium was taken,” tournament’s director Michel Dissake Mbarga revealed.

“But we can substitute that with the BEAC Stadium.

“When CAF came, it was rejected, but with the time we have benefited, I think everything is done, we just need to put the lighting system and the teams can train there at night. I think there is no problem with that.”

He added: “I think the pandemic came and we stopped everything. As far as organization is concerned, we don’t have any major problem. The problem we have should be the team because they’ve stayed without training.

“They have to start everything afresh. That’s the major bone of contention for now. I think the minister of sport and president of COCAN 2021 gave firm instructions to the president of FECAFOOT and the technical team to see how they can quickly start training.”

The session ended with the signature of City agreements by majors of CHAN host cities.