The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Extraordinary Executive Committee held a meeting in Accra, Ghana on November 30 and arrived at a consensus of stripping the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosting rights from Cameroon.
The prudent decision was taken due to delays in infrastructural preparations as well as the political and civil unrest in the country. The African football governing body will name a new host for AFCON 2019 on January 9 and countries have until 14 December 2018 to bid for the hosting rights. Morocco and South Africa are said to be the front-runners but the North African country today pulled out, confirmed by their Sports Minister "Morocco did not intend to run for the 2019 African Cup of Nations and will not do so".
But Ghana's Youth and Sports Minister Hon. Isaac Asiamah claimed within this week that the country is ready to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, “Ghana stands a good chance to host any CAF organised tournament. We are ready. Even if CAF says we should host the Cameroon one, we are ever ready", he said. But the actuality is 'We are not READY Mr. Sports Minister'. It is a political gimmick from the Sports Minister But he should have been honest and candid with Ghanaians because he knows very well that Ghana is not in the right condition especially with regards to facilities and structures at the FA.
With infrastructure development, let's not mistake comparing (African Women's Cup of Nations) AWCON to Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for both are very different competitions with different recognition and attraction. Let's not forget that the competition will feature 24 teams and will take place between June and July 2019. With the exemption of the Accra Sports Stadium and the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, other stadia like the Essipong Stadium, Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Len Clay Sports Stadium as well as training pitches, will need massive refurbishment. Where is the time and the funding?
It is very discernible that Ghana, infrastructure-wise, is not ready for hosting AFCON 2019.
Again, Football activities in Ghana have been halted and dormant for several months following the investigative piece on football corruption by reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas, which uncovered massive illegalities and the repercussions of the expose' must be sorted out before talking about hosting a tournament. The then-GFA President relinquished his position but was later found guilty by FIFA and banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both National and international level coupled with a fine of 500,000 Swiss Franc after a thorough investigation regarding Anas investigative piece.
FIFA, in consultation with the Government of Ghana, named a 4-member Normalisation Committee comprising, Dr. Kofi Amoah (Liaison Team Chairman), Lucy Quist, Naa Odofoley Nortey (Board member of Attorney General's Department), and Lawyer Dua Adonten (Former Kotoko Board member), who are tasked to sanitize and bring football back to normalcy with their term elapsing on 31 March 2019. The Normalisation Committee, now, run the day to day administration of football in the country but they have not done anything significant yet.
No elections has been held to elect new FA President, Vice-President, Executive Committee and other subcommittees, the statutes of the FA have not been reviewed as there are rules that must be changed to ensure transparency, sanity, and accountability. To the clubs and players, how much money are local players paid at the end of a month, should the league commence? How do our various national teams fare especially the Black Stars and the Black Queens. The former have failed to win a single trophy for close to four decades while the latter was embarrassingly booted out at the group stages in the just-ended AWCON 2018 tourney....on home soil.
It is therefore obvious that we are not ready in any way to host the AFCON 2019, football-wise, we are in a perilous position and so the Minister must halt his political gimmicks and concentrate on supervising and helping the Normalisation Committee fulfill their task as soon as possible.
Columnist: Haruna Mubarak Obama, a GIJ student.