There has been an outburst of reactions from football fans and analysts in Cameroon since the Confederation of African Football (Caf) officially announced it has stripped the five times African champions of the hosting rights for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Caf said on Friday that Cameroon has not met a number compliance conditions and could not host he tournament.
While some fans suspect that some North African countries that were interested in hosting the tournament played behind the scenes to deprive Cameroon of the hosting right, others blame the lackluster attitude at which the government has been preparing for the game.
“The Caf decision is not a surprise as Morocco has been scheming to ensure the hosting rights are withdrawn from Cameroon in their favour,” said Ernest Nfor, a football fan, in Yaounde.
Yet, sports analyst Francis Ajumane said he saw it coming from the various Caf inspection missions that came to Cameroon. “Anthony Baffoe, Amaju Pinnick and Daany Jordan were in Cameroon months ago and I could tell from their body language all was not well despite their assurances to the press,” Ajumane said.
“It became evident when Caf postponed its decision back at the end of September due to Cameroon's Presidential election.”
Ajumane admits that Cameroon was lagging behind in terms of construction at the various sites and tried to use diplomacy by bringing the Caf president to the country; which diplomacy apparently failed.
Sports journalist and editor-in-chief of This is Sports magazine, Franklin Sone Bayen said the socio-political climate in Cameroon is not conducive enough for the continental soccer jamboree to be staged.
“The Afcon withdrawal is shocking without measure for socio-political and socioeconomic reasons, though it should have been expected because Cameroon was falling short in infrastructure, and the sociopolitical climate is not conducive,” he said.
“It is a big blow to football fans though opponents of the president are happy because they consider that Afcon would have distracted attention from the Anglophone crisis and acrimony from recent electoral flaws,” Bayen said further.