ACCRA – Cameroon was on Friday stripped of hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations due to delays in preparing for the continental showpiece, organisers the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced.
“Today, we took the decision to withdraw the 2019 CAN from Cameroon,” Caf president Ahmad Ahmad told a press conference in Accra.
He was speaking after a 10-hour CAF executive meeting held behind closed doors in the Ghanaian capital.
Ahmad said “a task force” would be set up to launch an appeal for offers “to determine a new organising country between now and the end of the year”.
South Africa and Morocco are two front-line contenders to step in as hosts on place of the Cameroon, who won the last edition in 2017 in Gabon.
Morocco, who lost out to a United States/Mexico/Canada bid for the 2026 World Cup, have regularly been reported as possible replacements.
It had been set to stage the 2015 Cup of Nations before being stripped of its hosting rights in a row over the Ebola outbreak.
South Africa is the only African country to stage a World Cup, in 2010, and last staged the Cup of Nations in 2013.
“I know that there are countries which are interested, rest assured, candidate countries will come forward,” said Ahmad.
Alarm bells were sounded over the 2019 event at a September executive committee meeting in Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh when Caf noted “a significant delay in the realisation of the infrastructures” necessary for holding the Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Cameroon is experiencing a tense security situation, with persistent attacks by Boko Haram jihadists in the north, and a conflict between the army and separatists in the two English-speaking regions.
The 2019 event is scheduled for June 15-July 13, a change from its traditional January-February slot.
Today, the @CAF_Online Executive Committee met in Accra, Ghana and has decided that @FecafootOfficie could not host the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations – Further information will follow soon at: https://t.co/9LkqZloPx3 pic.twitter.com/hV93vH2R0h— CAF (@CAF_Online) November 30, 2018