You are here: HomeNews2022 01 16Article 515935

Sports News of Sunday, 16 January 2022

Source: punchng.com

Coronavirus rules stopping fans from matches

Coronavirus file photo Coronavirus file photo

Cameroon may be a football-mad country but most matches at the Africa Cup of Nations so far have been played out in front of largely empty stadiums, with fans preferring to gather elsewhere to enjoy the action.

In Bafoussam in the West region, banners welcome visitors and Cameroonian flags adorn the streets where vendors sell vuvuzelas for fans to deafen passers-by — there is no doubt that the third-largest city in the country is proud to host AFCON games.

Every night, hundreds of fans mass with a beer in their hands in front of screens in bars to watch and talk about the matches.

Yet outside town, in the modern 20,000-capacity stadium built for the competition, the stands were almost completely empty for the first two matches played there on Monday, despite Liverpool star Sadio Mane and his Senegal side being among the teams in action.

“If the stadiums are empty it is because of Covid-19,” says 26-year-old Cyrille Anicet as he sits with friends at a table near the city’s bus station.

“I went to the stadium on Monday. But like thousands of people I stayed outside because I didn’t have a vaccination card,” he tells AFP.

The Confederation of African Football imposed strict conditions to get into stadiums during the Cup of Nations, with anyone wishing to attend games needing to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of a negative PCR or antigenic test.

Yet the vast majority of Cameroonians appear to ignore mask-wearing recommendations and there is much resistance to the idea of being vaccinated — only six per cent of the population aged over 18 has officially been inoculated.

CAF also imposed restrictions on crowd numbers, with stadiums only allowed to be filled to 60 per cent of capacity, rising to 80 per cent for matches involving the hosts. They may as well not have bothered.

Join our Newsletter!