Suspense is over concerning the 2021 TotalEnergies AFCON. The 33rd Africa Cup of Nations will be played in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February, 2022 in five different towns. It swill be the second version of the 24-nation AFCON after the first experience hosted by Egypt in 2019. Officials of the Confederation of African Football, CAF increased the number of teams from 16 to 24 in order to ensure a better representation in African football at the top continental competition.
Cameroon last hosted the event in 1972 and at the time the fanfare being witnessed today with globalisation, hyper-media presence thanks to the information and communication technology that has given birth to the social media and its ramification all add to the grandeur of the football jamboree. As football fans and the entire nation wait for January 2022, the draw ceremony yesterday 17 August, 2021 at the Yaounde Conference Centre has come as a landmark occurrence for an event that has given room for so much conjecture.
A shift in the initial hosting calendar for Cameroon from 2019 to 2022 and the huge investments engaged by the country in infrastructural development gave room for lengthy debate as to whether or not Cameroon shall be ready. Another change of date from 25 June, 2021 when the draw was initially programmed led many thinking that it was game over for Cameroon. However, the glamour and huge success recorded yesterday as the football pundits in Africa assembled in Yaounde served as a foretaste to what the country will offer to the world come January 2022.
Cameroon had done it before with the female AFCON in 2016 and the CHAN in 2021. Doubting Thomases questioned the ability of the country to offer the required spectacle that an event of such magnitude deserves. Yet, Cameroon even went beyond expectations both in terms of infrastructure and organisation. It is now clear that those who had reservations about the country’s ability to showcase its prowess in hosting the biggest football event in the continent need to start revising their notes. All those who attended the draw ceremony already saw for themselves that the promises made by the Head of State about the holding of the AFCON in Cameroon are coming to fruition.
Even more, the sports facilities provided throughout the country for all 24 nations that will be present for the competition meet the standards of CAF. It can now be considered that the countdown to the most beautiful AFCON competition in Africa to be hosted by Cameroon has started. Such a dress rehearsal witnessed on Tuesday 17 August, 2021 is demonstration of the magnitude of the event that is still to come.
Yaounde, Douala, Bafoussam, Limbe/Buea, and Garoua are all set with state-of-the-arts facilities that can conveniently welcome all 24 countries that qualified for the jamboree. Hotels, roads are either already taking a new shape or have already done so as they await the event and the rhythm that was set at the Yaounde Conference Centre during the draw will certainly have to keep growing over the next few months as the competition draws nearer.
As such, it is time for those involved in businesses and other activities that can benefit from the AFCON to start cleaning their backyards and making the necessary preparations so as to make the best out of the event. The hand of the clock will definitely no longer be turned backwards as the nation will have to vibrate the rhythm of African football in just a few months’ time. Until now people still operated as if the AFCON was a far-fetched-dream, but any finishing touches that were still left for the smooth take-off of the event must be a matter of urgency so that the feast can reflect the diverse and fascinating multifaceted Cameroon.