CAF boss Motsepe confident AFCON will avoid ‘painful experience’ of CameroonFri, 12 Jan 2024 16:52:58 GMT

African football chief Patrice Motsepe insisted Friday he is confident this year’s Cup of Nations will not see any repeat of the kind of tragedy that marred the last tournament in Cameroon in 2022.”I am satisfied the appropriate steps have been taken to make sure we will totally avoid the painful experience we had in Cameroon,” Motsepe, the president of the Confederation of African Football, told reporters in Abidjan on the eve of the opening game between hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau.The legacy of the 2022 AFCON was scarred by the disaster at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, when eight people were killed and dozens more were injured in a crush and stampede prior to the last-16 match between Cameroon and the Comoros.The Ivorian government has invested around $1.5 billion in improving infrastructure as it prepares to host the tournament for the first time since 1984.That has included the construction of the 60,000-capacity Ebimpe Olympic Stadium, on the northern outskirts of Abidjan, which will host Saturday’s opening game as well as the final on February 11.There will be some 17,000 police and soldiers deployed during the month-long tournament to ensure security.”The Cameroon accident was absolutely avoidable,” admitted Motsepe, the South African who became CAF president in March 2021.”For as long as I am president, whether I know or don’t know, whether I am aware or not aware, I ultimately have to take responsibility for anything that happens.He added of Ivory Coast’s preparations: “I am satisfied that there is a huge amount of determination and commitment and I think we are on the right track.”The 24-team tournament will see matches staged in six stadiums in five cities, with two venues in economic capital Abidjan and others in the capital Yamoussoukro, Bouake, San Pedro and Korhogo.