The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it has no plans to shift dates and venue of next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) from Cameroon following the recent discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, are among the 24 teams that will take part in the continental showpiece scheduled to run from January 9 to February 6.
The new variant has led to travel restrictions being introduced by some countries for several African nations, including Malawi, with Nigeria, which neighbours Cameroon, the latest to be added to the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’.
Some media organisations have suggested the dates of the tournament could change or even the location be moved, possibly to Qatar.
But CAF’s director of communications Alex Siewe was quoted by BBC Sport Africa yesterday as having said neither his organisation nor leading Cameroon officials have discussed such events.
“We can’t keep spending time dealing with rumours,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“We did not receive any other message or information from our leaders. There is nothing such as changing of dates or countries. We did not discuss such during all our last meetings.”
“We are on site. We are working.”
He also said staff from CAF headquarters arrived in Cameroon this week to organise the Afcon finals.
“An official delegation from CAF has been released and general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is joining us in two days,” Siewe added.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu also said the issue of the new Covid-19 variant was not discussed at the Africa football governing body’s general assembley held at its Cairo headquarters in Egypt.
He said: “It was not part of the agenda.”
The European Club Association, an independent body which represents clubs across Europe, has expressed its “deep concerns” regarding player welfare before the tournament, adding that the public health situation “continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner”. The Flames, who will be making their third Afcon appearance, are in Group B alongside Senegal’s Teranga Lions, Guinea’s Syli Nationale and Zimbabwe’s Warriors.