Ivorian fury after Cameroon mooted as 2021 Cup of Nations host

Cameroon was stripped of hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations due to delays in preparations. However, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said on Monday that the body could “give Cameroon more time” and allow it to stage the 2021 edition instead.

CAF president Ahmad Ahmad has indicated that Cameroon could be considered to host the 2021 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.   -  AFP

Ivory Coast has reacted angrily to the possibility that it could be replaced as 2021 Africa Cup of Nations host by Cameroon.

Cameroon was stripped of hosting the 2019 Cup of Nations last week due to delays with preparations and security concerns. However, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said on Monday that African football's governing body could “give Cameroon more time” and allow it to stage the 2021 edition instead.

That would trigger a domino effect with original host the Ivory Coast dropping back to 2023 in place of Guinea, a scenario that has angered the Ivorian Football Federation.

“No Ivorian state authority, nor any leader of the federation, has been contacted or approached by CAF,” the federation said, adding that a letter had been sent to the African body on Tuesday.

Countries struggling to meet deadlines for the building of stadiums, roads, medical facilities and other infrastructure has been a Cup of Nations problem for decades.

Host Gabon was applying finishing touches to one stadium after the 2017 Cup of Nations kicked off.

From 2019, the competition will be played during the June and July instead of January and February to avoid the club-versus-country clashes that have marred recent editions.

Cameroon won the 2017 tournament despite a number of its stars, including Liverpool defender Joel Matip, opting to stay at their clubs in the middle of the European season.

The Cup of Nations finals, which began as a three-team event in Sudan in 1957, will expand to 24 countries from next year, up from the 16-team format used since 1998.

This means that host needs six venues instead of four, putting an extra strain on the finances and resources of governments, who bankroll the tournament.

Morocco is favourite to replace Cameroon as 2019 host with South Africa -- emergency host in 1996 and 2013 -- another possibility.

Egypt has said it would not compete with another Arab country for the right to stage the 2019 edition of a tournament it has won a record seven times.