Before the start of the tournament, there were rumors that the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) would be postponed again. Though they have been denied, but the security threat, the Covid-19 pandemic and especially the deadly stampede on Monday are putting the CAN under pressure as it ends in more than ten days.
At least eight dead and 38 injured, this is the latest result of the tragic stampede on Monday night in front of the stadium located in Olembe in the suburbs of Yaoundé, before the eighth game won by Cameroon against the Comoros (2-1).
Nicknamed Paul Biya, in reference to the country's president, this stadium, the largest in the country with 60,000 seats, was delivered three years late, just before the start of the competition, while its surroundings were not finished.
At the end of November, CAF Secretary General Veron Mosengo-Omba wrote to Cameroon's Minister of Sports, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, expressing "serious concerns about the organisation of the tournament.
The quarter-final scheduled for Sunday will finally be moved to the other stadium in Yaoundé.
The health situation
Cameroon, which was initially scheduled to organise the 2019 edition had a strong opponent: the covid 19 pandemic.
If it has so far spared the Cameroonian host (which has raised the surprised and doubtful comments of some opponents), many selections have been disrupted: Senegal, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Gabon (deprived of its star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang)
Until the paroxysmal situation of the Comoros, who had to play their round of 16 against Cameroon without a professional goalkeeper, with a fullback in goal.
Lack of fairness
In this context, the coach of Gambia, Tom Saintfiet has criticized the lack of fairness in the treatment of teams.
"Six players sleep in the same room, with the same sanitary, the same shower", and "only two, three staff members have a room, the others sleep two in the same bed, at the time of Covid-19", described the Belgian.
As for the Comoros midfielder, Youssouf M'Changama, he denounced "the lack of ethics" after the elimination of his team after a heroic match despite the circumstances (2-1).
Anglophone separatists in the West, Boko Haram jihadists in the North: it is in a tense security context that the African Cup of Nations opened in a country in a war situation on part of its territory.
Prior to the opening of the African Football Championship, pro-independence rebels had threatened to attack the teams playing in Limbe and training in Buea, in the west.
And on January 12, in Buea, gunfire between soldiers and gunmen left some people injured, with local authorities referring to "sporadic incidents" that have not been claimed.
The blunder of the Ivorian goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangaré against Sierra Leone (2-2) has made the happiness of social networks. But for many observers, it is mainly attributable to the state of the pitch of the Douala stadium, so disastrous that rumors, denied, have circulated about a relocation of the games scheduled in this stadium, where Algeria, defending champion, has played its group matches.
Built for the occasion, the stadium of Japoma, one of the two largest of the competition (50 000 seats), suffers from the high humidity of the region, the heat and the lack of light.
A refereeing that makes people talk
The phrase "A match lasts 90 minutes" is a classic of the language of footballers. A classic that the referee of Tunisia-Mali (0-1) Janny Sikazwe, made lie by prematurely whistling the end of the game. The images went around the world while the Tunisian press choked: "Shame", "farce", "masquerade".
An episode "more than bad for the image of the tournament", according to Patrice Neveu, coach of Gabon. "The image of the CAN does not depend on the Cameroonians", "they are not responsible for the referee, we must ask Patrice Motsepe", the boss of African soccer, reacted the legend of Cameroonian goalkeepers, Joseph-Antoine Bell.
In very difficult conditions (35 ° C and 65% humidity), the referee actually suffered from sunstroke.