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Cameroon Lags in Preparations for Football Tournament

Map of Cameroon

Map of Cameroon

A delegation from the Confederation of African Football is visiting Cameroon to appraise the West African country's readiness to host the Africa Women Cup of Nations, set for November. It is feared that with just several months to go, Cameroon may not be able to host the competition if the snail's pace of work on infrastructure continues.

Among the CAF's requirements are standard football stadiums and training grounds, good health care facilities, roads, airports, ports, communication and transport systems, and hotels.

Tanzanian-born CAF executive member Leodegar Tenga, who is heading the delegation, said after inspecting the facilities that Cameroon needed to work harder if it intends to host a successful tournament.

"Cameroon is one of those leading footballing nations in Africa," Tenga said. "You can't be very good in football and fail to organize for the tournament. So my expectation is that we will find the facilities ready, and most importantly, we will find the people of Cameroon ready as well. At the end of the day. it is about the people, it is about friendship."

Improvements at the 76-year-old regional hospital in Limbe, one of the host sites for the tournament, were begun 10 months ago. Dennis Nsame, senior medical officer at the hospital, said Cameroonian Health Minister Andre Mama Fouda visited the hospital last week and promised that a generator, extra beds and more personnel would be provided, among other items.

Cameroon officials also said they would be able to deliver a renovated Amadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, site of the opening match of the competition, by October 17, a month before the tournament. The stadium still lacks surveillance systems and a standby generator in a country where power failure is common.

Last May, some workers abandoned work at the Yaounde stadium after a landslide provoked by digging left two people dead and several injured. Prime Minister Philemon Yang urged companies to speed construction work and meet deadlines.

Yang said, however, that he was optimistic his country would be ready for the event.

"We have had series of meetings, we visited the work sites, and I can tell you for sure, the Africa Cup will take place in the best of circumstances," he said. "It will go well. All the companies are working and will continue to work well. ... We will have a wonderful Africa Cup in Limbe, in Buea and in Yaounde."

The tournament was originally scheduled from October 8 to 22, but Cameroon asked it to be pushed to November 19 to December 3 due to weather conditions.

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