Cameroon says biggest stadium will host AFCON matches despite construction delays

Africa Cup of Nations trophy is seen ahead of the draw for the 2017 CAN qualifiers in Cairo. The CAF announced that Gabon will host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. (Photo by Haikel Hmima/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: The Africa Cup of Nations trophy pictured ahead of the draw for the 2017 AFCON qualifiers in Cairo. (Photo by Haikel Hmima/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Cameroon’s minister of Sports and Physical Education Narcisse Mouelle Kombi said on Friday that the country’s biggest stadium will be able to host matches at January’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite delays in completing ongoing construction work.

Cameroon’s government was scheduled to hand over the new 60,000-seat Olembe Stadium to sports authorities on Friday, but postponed the date “indefinitely.” It was the second time in less than one week the government had postponed the handover ceremony.

Kombi said that technical delays were hindering the stadium’s completion.

“This is mainly because of the pursuance of the technical review and assessment of about 500 compartments within Olembe Stadium and its annex facilities. The full functionality of these compartments is necessary for the total operation of this wonderful football facility. The government has expressed the firm zeal to ensure that all the facets of the stadium meet world class standard,” Kombi told reporters in the capital Yaounde.

The stadium, located 13km north of Yaounde, is scheduled to host the opening match of AFCON on January 9 next year, with the final to take place in the same stadium on February 6.

Cameroon has already inaugurated four other stadiums in the cities of Douala and Garoua, as well as Chinese-constructed stadiums in Bafoussam and Limbe which will also stage several AFCON matches.