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AFP
October 30, 2020

Cameroon legend Geremi opposed to Africa Cup matches in Europe

Sports

AFP
October 30, 2020

JOHANNESBURG: Cameroon football legend Geremi Njitap says African countries must not be allowed to stage Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been reports that Senegal and Guinea-Bissau were “discussing” moving back-to-back matches during November from Dakar and Bissau to Portugal.

Senegal had to postpone at the last minute this month a warm-up match when eight of the visiting Mauritania delegation tested positive for Covid-19.

However, that was the only friendly international in the continent during October to be cancelled while two in Portugal and one in Turkey involving African teams were called off due to coronavirus.

Answering a question from AFP at a videoconference organised by the Netherlands-based global professional footballers’ union FIFPro, Geremi said: “I do not believe CAF will allow that.

“This is an African competition and there is no way matches can be played in Europe,” said the former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Cameroon defender-cum-midfielder and FIFPro board member.

“Of course, staging qualifiers in Europe would be better for most of the players because that is where they are based.

“I have no objection to friendly internationals involving African countries being staged in Europe, but not Cup of Nations nor World Cup qualifiers.

“African football supporters will not accept that — they want to cheer their heroes on even if the numbers at grounds may be severely limited by the pandemic.”

FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann warned that health protocols “do not change one bit” whether matches are staged in Africa or Europe.