The Show Continues After All!

The sixth edition of the African Nations Championship currently going on in Cameroon’s three cities (Yaounde, Douala and Limbe), has hit crescendo with determinant last group games. A crucial stage that warrants attention, irrespective of what could serve as distraction. 


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In effect, the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic which pushed the competition from 2020 to 2021 and which has regrettably raised its ugly head in some competing delegations is far from denting the grandeur of the tournament. Even the affected teams are not relenting in their efforts to clinch highly priced spots in the quarterfinals as they all look forward to unseating the defending champions, Morocco, when the competition ends on February 7, 2021. 


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Covid-19 existed before the championship. It even forced the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the host, Cameroon, to readjust on several fronts. Allowing that each stadium hosts only 25 per cent of its normal capacity in the first round and that each team provides additional ten players to their normal 23 was simply being pre-emptive. A visionary move which now gives room for any affected delegation to continue the competition in near serenity while the affected members undergo their confinement. 


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From what the first two group matches produced as spectacle and the competitiveness with which each side battles to wear the crown, there is every reason to hope that Covid-19 cannot be an impediment to the evolution of the competition. As a matter of the fact, the football made in Africa being exhibited in the four pools outshines the scares of Coronavirus. Bringing 16 countries at once with each delegation having not less than 50 people alongside officials of CAF greatly fosters the much-cherished African unity. These are CHAN packages, which make the show more interesting to be relinquished in the face of Covid-19 threats. 


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Generally, visitors to Cameroon have hailed the hospitability of the people, the goodwill of its leader demonstrated through the huge sacrifices made to ensure success in the tournament. Giving the continent internationally acclaimed football infrastructure like Cameroon has done and more so under the difficult economic context masterminded by health and security challenges clearly indicates leadership foresightedness and strong determination to make Africa proud. Visibly, it is Africa winning with the CHAN 2020. The whole world had predicted doom on the continent with the advent of the virus. Africa weathered the storm, stood out of danger and has set the pace in organising a major competition even in the midst of the deadly virus. 


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The precautions all and sundry took to write bookmakers wrong are still valid now even more necessary with looming fresh waves of the dangerous virus leaving no country and continent indifferent. As the CHAN teams flex their muscles on the green turf battling to progress as far as possible in the competition, everyone must therefore be conscious of the stakes. The virus might not have been kept at bay as wished but its stings can at least be averted. 


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