The Confederation of African Football has confirmed that it ratified its agreement with Africa Cup of Nations host nation Cameroon last weekend despite continuing questions over the country’s ability to stage the tournament.
Doubts relating to coronavirus had surfaced online in recent days but in a statement published last night the governing body said that the Agreement for the Organising Association Agreement had been signed despite its executive committee highlighting “areas that still need some urgent attention ahead of the kick-off on 9 January.”
The competition was initially scheduled to be held concurrently with the European Championship and Copa America last summer but was then moved to early 2022. The tournament is now scheduled to run until 6 February.
Should Cameroon fail to satisfy CAF’s queries, South Africa, which hosted the 2010 World Cup, has been lined up as a reserve location – putting an end to any questions over whether the tournament could be cancelled.
A host of Premier League stars are set to be involved, posing headaches for their club managers.
Arsenal are likely to be without Thomas Partey (Ghana), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast), while Chelsea are planning for the absence of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (Senegal) and wide man Hakim Ziyech (Morocco).
Brentford have three likely absentees in Julian Jeanvier (Guinea), Frank Onyeka (Nigeria), Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana), while Crystal Palace will be without Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast).
Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United will not lose any players, while title challenging Liverpool are set to lose star attackers Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in addition to midfielder Naby Keita