By Boris Esono N
Football Writer kick442.com-Cameroon
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in December 2019, there were fears that the CHAN tournament will not hold. Certainly, the tournament was postponed from its April 2020 slot to January 2021.
There were even fears that Cameroon hosting the tournament when it is still witnessing rising COVID cases will not be ideal, and some even called for the tournament to be abandoned.
However, the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), a competition for locally based footballers has been going on for some eight days now. The tournament is already entering into matchday three, with the conclusion of matchday two taking place on January 23.
The tournament that is being hosted by Cameroon was to take place in 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has caused untold suffering on clubs around the world and various competitions organized by CAF, FIFA and various leagues.
Despite the measures that have been put in place against the virus, players and staff have fallen prey to the virus. Last time, some five players and the coach of DR Congo tested positive for the virus before their game.
However, the number of positive cases has been at its minimal with CAF mandated tests giving to the players and staff 48 hours before any game is played.
“I am happy to have witnessed the kick-off of the first international tournament of the year; the first national team games,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said after attending the opening ceremony (Cameroon’s 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe) on January 16.
“The stadium was beautiful during the opening day though it was not full because of COVID-19 restrictions still 25 per cent of the capacity was there (CAF has decided to limit to 25 per cent capacity for the group games while it will rise to 50 per cent for the semi-finals and final).
“It gave it a nice ambience and atmosphere. It is important to show to the world that we can organize such games in Africa to give hope that all the countries all over the world that the year 2021 will hopefully see normality come back including in football,” FIFA President Infantino added.
A lot has been put in place to ensure that the CHAN tournament goes on smoothly, looking at the major tournaments that have been programmed for this year. So, everything hinges on Cameroon producing a good tournament, something which the country has been able to do so far.
In terms of international sporting events this year, fans are going to be thrilled with the postponed EURO 2020, the Tokyo 2020 and Paralympic Games that were all postponed, Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, and many other events.
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