AFCON president addresses COVID concerns ahead of tournament launch as security fears skipped over

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Patrice Motsepe noted that COVID-19 concerns would be acknowledged during the AFCON as he confirmed the tournament would be set to go ahead in January.

For Liverpool, it will mean that the trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will be unavailable for a host of Premier League games in the new year, with it still as of yet unclear as to the precise number of domestic fixtures affected.

“We must always identify problems and challenges, and not shy away from them. We must have the confidence and the belief that we can overcome them,” the 59-year-old was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Nobody will be allowed into the stadium without a (negative) PCR test. We will have to protect the fans that are there. Of course, there will be concerns about fake tests going around, but we are dealing with those issues.

“We have to have confidence and belief in ourselves as Africans. And we have to have confidence and belief that we can host a very successful Nations Cup in Cameroon.”

The CAF president, however, failed to acknowledge serious security concerns hanging over the competition, with recent reports suggesting that player safety could be under threat.

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Whilst we can certainly appreciate the desire to get AFCON up and running after prior delays, the reality of the situation is that there is little in the way of guarantees that travelling talent will be safe in Cameroon in light of ongoing conflict.

There’s no disrespect meant to the tournament but player wellbeing must surely come first in this regard if there is a genuine risk of the security concerns in question spilling over into the games.

As things stand, things do look set to go ahead as planned, though we’d hope that CAF are being challenged when it comes to the security measures in place to protect footballers, fans and coaching staff.

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