Cameroon hit back over 'not ready' accusations
The Cameroon FA has reacted with "profound consternation" to comments by the Confederation of African Football president that it will not be ready to stage the 2019 African Nations Cup and levelled accusations of a conspiracy to take the final tournament away from them.
CAF chief Ahmad Ahmad stated on Saturday that "even with four teams, Cameroon isn't ready" and suggested alternative hosts would need to be found for the tournament, which is due to be the first to involve 24 teams, up from the customary 16.
Cameroon, who last staged the continental showcase in 1972, has plans to have seven stadia and 25 training pitches available for the tournament, and claimed in a statement the CAF president had pre-empted an upcoming inspection.
"FECAFOOT are particularly preoccupied by the fact these words come before the first CAF inspection team, planned for 20-28 August, has come to Cameroon," read a Cameroon FA statement.
"We would be within our rights to wonder about this inspection visit given the results seem to have already been decided at the highest level of the CAF."
The statement highlighted Cameroon's recent successful hosting of the Women's African Nations Cup last year during which games were staged in two of the venues set to be used in the 2019 competition, which will also be the first held in summer rather than its traditional mid-season slot.
Companies from the UK, USA, and China are involved in developing the infrastructure required for the tournament, the statement said.
It also claimed "it is difficult, following the words of the CAF President, to not pay attention to persistent rumours of the existence of a conspiracy aimed at taking the organisation of CAN 2019 from Cameroon for the benefit of another country."
FECAFOOT pointed out the decision to increase the amount of participating teams - taken by the CAF in July - required a significant change to the plans already drawn up and agreed with the federation when it was awarded the right to stage the tournament in September 2014.
It also complained the inspection visit had been brought forward a month. However it added it would welcome the CAF team in a "constructive spirit."