CAF sets bad precedent

GOVERNMENT is disappointed with the decision by the Confederations of African Football (CAF) to award the hosting of all the three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON) tournaments to West African countries.

In an interview with the Daily Nation Sports yesterday, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Christopher Mulenga said CAF has set a bad precedent which was working against uniting Africa as a continent.

Mulenga said the decision did not represent the aspirations of the African continent.

“That is laughing at us, that decision is bad. CAF must realise that they have set a bad precedent which will affect the organisation of football on the continent. It’s like they have an agenda of promoting a certain philosophy which is not correct,” said Mulenga.

He said the decision was unfortunate, adding that Zambia was optimistic of getting the bid as it had put in all the best efforts to ensure that the country hosted the 2019 AfCON.

Mulenga said Zambia was mature enough to host any such big events in all sporting disciplines.

“Zambia is a mature nation to host such events. Hosting such tournaments comes with a lot of economic and social benefits. And it was our hope as government to work closely with the team we sent to lobby,” he said.

“Zambia has better infrastructure compared to the countries which have been awarded the opportunity to host the 2019, 2021 and 2023 AfCON,” he added.

“When you look at the infrastructure, Zambia has better infrastructure compared with some of the countries hosting the 2019, 2021 and 2023 AfCON. However, we shall not cry over spilled milk, we shall look forward to hosting another tournament,” said Mulenga.

Last week Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili protested against the decision by the CAF to award the next three African Cup tournaments to West Africa.

Kambwili said it would have been better for Zambia to withdraw its membership from CAF in protest over Zambia’s failure to win the bid to host the 2019 tournament.

He accused the West African dominated CAF of being unfair adding that it was a dark cloud for African football.

Cameroon won the bid to host the 2019 AfCON while Ivory Coast and Guinea got the 2021 and 2023 bids respectively.