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Caf dismisses speculation that Afcon will be moved due to Omicron

The trophy of the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Daniel Beloumou Olomo/AFP

The trophy of the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Daniel Beloumou Olomo/AFP

Published Dec 8, 2021


Johannesburg - The Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Tuesday dismissed speculation that next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon could be moved due to the spread of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Southern Africa was hit by international travel bans at the end of November, following the discovery of the new variant by South African scientists.

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The controversial travel bans came on November 25, with flights no longer allowed to the United Kingdom from South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It turned out, in fact, as CNN reports, the Omicron variant was present in Europe long before it was detected by SA scientists.

Nigeria, which neighbours Cameroon, this week has also just been added to the UK ‘red list’.

Despite speculation that Afcon could be adversely affected, or even moved, Caf director of communications Alex Siew said this will not be the case.

Siew told BBC Africa: "We can't keep spending time dealing with rumours.

"We did not receive any other message or information from our leaders - 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. An official delegation from Caf has been released and general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is joining us in two days.

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This comes after the European Club Association (ECA) on Monday said it is worried about ‘player welfare’ ahead of Afcon.

The ECA said the "worsening public health situation" is a problem and that it is working global footballing body Fifa to "ensure all necessary precautions are in place to protect players and club interests" as the health situation "continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner”. - African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Michael Sherman