Cameroonians prepared for soccer enjoyable


YAOUNDE:

Workers are making use of remaining touches to the fan zones in Yaounde forward of the long-awaited launch this weekend of Africa’s largest sporting occasion.

Beset by months of issues and uncertainty, the month-long Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will get underway on Sunday when host nation Cameroon performs Burkina Faso.

Preparations to get the enormous screens, retailers, eating places, and fan area prepared for hundreds of supporters within the nation’s capital are undoubtedly in last-minute mode.

“We Cameroonians love to leave everything to the last gasp,” laughs Simon Atangana, a former nationwide participant who’s a part of an organisation organising the fan zones.

“Everything will of course be ready. AFCON is going to be a huge party, and the pictures will be spread around the world.”

But a well-known foe — coronavirus — is a possible fly within the ointment.

The international pandemic pressured the postponement of AFCON from final 12 months, and fears of one other delay had been eased solely final month.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set down powerful rules in a bid to forestall AFCON turning into a super-spreader occasion.

Those desirous to enter the stadium should be fully vaccinated — in a rustic the place simply six p.c of the grownup inhabitants has been jabbed — and present a unfavorable PCR check for the virus that’s lower than 72 hours outdated.

Venues have been restricted to 60 p.c of capability, though that is being raised to 80 p.c when Cameroon‘s “Indomitable Lions” take the sphere.

The rampant unfold of the Omicron variant is casting a pall over workforce lineups.

Gabon’s Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the newest participant to check optimistic and should miss his nation’s Group C open match in opposition to Comoros on January 10.

“We asked CAF whether we can replace some of our players who got infected with Covid-19 but the answer is no,” stated The Gambia’s coach, Tom Saintfiet.

“If this still remains to be the case, it could be a catastrophe… but according to the current rules, we are not allowed to replace anybody in the final list of 28-men squad.”

In Yaounde’s Warda Square, hawkers of flags, shirts and vuvuzela horns say they’ve had a sluggish begin in commerce.

“Business hasn’t taken off yet as much as I would like, but I’m optimistic,” stated Arnaud Medja, 29, dressed from head to toe in Cameroon’s nationwide colors of inexperienced, yellow and pink.

“It’s simply taking extra time than scheduled. It’s simply the Covid rules which have come alongside and put a dampener on issues.”

The cup and the match’s lion mascot Mola have been going across the streets of Yaounde, backed by dancers and musicians and escorted by motorcycle riders bedecked with the flags of all of the competing nations.

“AFCON is going to be fun — a party,” stated Laurentine, a 33-year-old cosmetics saleswoman.

“It’s going to be great to see the town move and watch everyone get out again.”

On Wednesday, dozens of individuals lined up exterior ticket retailers after AFCON stated seats had been being placed on sale, though they waited in useless.

“I spent all day yesterday queuing. I went to the city hall, to the Ahidjo stadium, and now it’s the Palais des Sports,” stated Karine Sunshine, 23.

“But there’s nonetheless nothing on sale. I’m determined to see the opening match.

“We’ve been waiting 50 years for this moment — that was the last time AFCON was staged in Cameroon. So I got my vaccinations, and now I am waiting a bit longer, because the Cameroonians are going to win the cup. Just look at the atmosphere there’s going to be this weekend.”

But not everybody appeared to concentrate on the match’s anti-Covid restrictions — and even to be significantly nervous in regards to the virus.

In Yaounde’s central market, a whole bunch of individuals, none of them masked, thronged the stalls as Cameroonian and worldwide music blasted from loudspeakers.

“Yes, of course, I will be going to the stadium,” stated Abdoulay, a water vendor. “You have to get vaccinated (to get in)? Oh, in that case, I won’t go.”

“There’s no corona in Cameroon, and we don’t want the vaccine here. You don’t know what it contains and vaccinated people catch the disease anyway,” he stated.

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