Cameroon has been stripped off the hosting right for Afcon 2019 amidst security concerns. This may not be a new development on the African soil as there are several examples to show for.
Very worrying for our football is the message we send to the rest of the world knowing the spurious impression the western media paints to their region and the entire world about Africa.
It appears we are in a region where effective long term planning has eluded the brains on the continent.
This may not be the case as Africa has seen very successful stories of individuals and organization who for their vision and ability to effectively project and plan, has achieved enviable heights in their carriers and organizations.
For example, individuals such as Ghana’s Kofi Annan (the Late), Nigeria’s Dangote, Senegal’s Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, just to name a few, has/had risen to the zenith of individual brilliance whose everyday decision affects/affected global lives.
Again, Africa has seen lots of exceedingly successful companies and organizations that has attained global popularity and relevance. For example, Ghana, one of the globally recognized entrepreneurial hubs has seen a metamorphosis of a mere waste management company called Zoomlion, grow into a conglomerate named Jospong Group of companies, who through its subsidiaries provide global services in ICT , oil and gas etc.
Nigeria’s, Iroko TV dubbed the “Netflix of Africa”, is the world’s largest digital producer of African movies. This company proudly owned by an African likewise Jospong Group of Companies and several others, revolutionized the movie industry on the continent and its now in the global space of successful companies.
As I said, there are lots of these incredible stories to be told about Africa and Africans who through the singular art of effective planning and clear vision, has made the continent a better place for numerous African souls.
Let us roll back into the footballing space. Shall we?
Do you know how many times CAF through its own act of commission and omission has had to relocate the hosting of its own tournament? Well, let’s go on this ride. But before we do, let me state unequivocally that I’m yet as a an editor to find out in recent times, when UEFA has had the cause to relocate the hosting of a tournament for whatsoever reason this world can give.
This is not to defeat my own orientation as a believer in the Pan African activism led by our magnanimous Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. J B Dankwah. Neither have I brought it out to spite us. No! Here lies the motive.
We are, in numbers, the largest football confederation in the world boasting of a monstrous 56 member association. Next is Europe, which also consist of an appreciable 55 member associations. So, it is in order to do the checks and balances owing to our strength in numbers; in our ability to plan and execute projects satisfactorily.
Before the introduction of the novel idea of UEFA nations league, which provides some sporting competitiveness to national team football within the European enclave, it had passed through a solid seven(7) years formative period and operationalized in its eight(8th) year, which is 2018.
For this reasons, the project took off on a very sound footing leaving doubters and nay-Sayers buried in their cold snowy pits.
Albert Einstein once said and I quote, “the world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”.
Planning, as I deduce from the above quote, is an imperative component of thinking which gives you the end product of successful execution of implemented projects. With this, we have seen on numerous occasions where UEFA, even with a room made for elements of force majeure, has creditably delivered on projects embarked upon.
Is thinking and for that matter; effective long term planning becoming the most painful and difficult exercise for our football leaders,? Who unfortunately have their feet touch not the ball but for their pens sign huge and questionable contracts.
In Article 23 (10) of CAF’s own statutes which talks about the prerogative of the executive committee, it states and I quote; “the executive committee shall be the supreme authority for all matters concerning CAF competitions”.
The simple interpretation from a layman’s viewpoint is that, they have the non-negotiable powers to decide where everything goes and to see to its successful execution.
So it begs the question, with the twenty three(23) ‘noble’ executive committee members of CAF, what considerations, projected anticipations and general consultations do they do to prevent this niggling and lingering issues of relocation of host countries.
South Africa in the year 1996 had to accept a plea by CAF to host the 20th edition of the Afcon which was Kenya’s to host that year. CAF remarked of a certain “NON-COMPLIANCE” from Kenya which beats my imagination till date. How was Kenya assessed before announcing them as host for that edition? South Africa won its first Afcon that year beating Tunisia by 2-0 in the finals. It was the first time the competition was expanded to 16 countries, split into four groups of four.
Ghana and Nigeria co-hosted the year 2000 edition of the Afcon. Zimbabwe was stripped off the hosting right after CAf said they were “NOT CONVINCED” of the readiness of the new stadia been built by kick off ,of the event.
South Africa for the second time took over the hosting of the 2013 Afcon from Libya due to Civil War in the country then. So I ask, what sort of intelligence did the security committee or council of CAF pick before and during the award of the competition to Libya? France Hosted the UEFA 2016 tourney at the height of eventful terrorist attacks in Europe, yet, UEFA managed to pull through without any casualty. I’m not equaling the odds here, but the simple questions is, what was the surveillance done to determine the safety or otherwise of awarding the competition to Libya?
Morocco lost the right to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2015, after the Moroccan officials demanded of a postponement of the tournament due to the unfortunate outbreak and spread of the deadly Ebola Virus in West African countries. In this instance, could CAF be right or there are still some questions to put to them? Well, I probably may want to agree for once with them on this decision looking at the attitudinal pattern of the Moroccans on the geopolitical scene on the continent.
Again, Libya lost the hosting right to Gabon after a civil unrest in the country, leading to delays in the construction of the infrastructural needs of the tournament. This was in 2017. Cameroon were winners over Egypt in a fascinating 2-1 victory.
NUMBER SIX: THE RECENT
South Africa from all indications look set to take over from Cameroon in the 2019 edition of Afcon as there continues to be a growing unrest amidst murders and kidnapping of the Anglophone sects in the country. Consequently proving to be an insecure place for indigenes and visitors. CAF has had a cause to relocate its competition.
Ola Rotimi in his popular book titled, the gods are not to blame spoke of a proverb. He said and I quote,”
when the frog in front falls into a pit, those behind take caution”.
How many more “frogs” must fall into a pit before our leaders begin to do the right things? How many more bad decisions must we take to get it right? We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different results unless we are mad.
Let’s insist that we have done the right security surveillances, we have absolute trust in the availability of resources for host countries to deliver, we have gained an absolute government goodwill and last but not the least, host countries remain on time schedule in its infrastructural development to pull off a memorable tournament just like the sweet experience of Afcon 2008 in GHANA.
Dear CAF, Let No Frog Fall Again!!!!