Windhoek - After dilly-dallying on a decision to call off football-related activities, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has finally made a pronouncement to call off football activities at the continental level due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In early March, CAF came under fire for entertaining the idea of still going ahead with the African Nations Championship, which was due for Cameroon from 4-25 April 2020 at a time when Covid-19 was making its way onto the continent.
Due to CAF’s uncertainty at the time, Namibia Football Association (NFA) even pulled out the national team from the competition.
A message from CAF President Ahmad Ahmad released over the weekend has, however, now confirmed that all activities are now called off, including the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers which were scheduled for this month.
Also, the 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly set for 24 April 2020 in Yaounde has also been postponed indefinitely.
In the message, Ahmad said football was the passion of the continent, but the health of the players, officials, partners and fans mattered most at this point. He expressed his sincerest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and speedy recovery to affected persons.
“The last couple of days have been a sad one for African football and the world at large, due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus (Covid-19) across the globe, which has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). There has been a lockdown in some of our member associations and in some cases a shutdown.
“Despite being a football organisation, one of our objectives is to partake in the fight against scourges posing a threat to the continent and humanity, and it is in this regard that we have taken major decisions to control and contain the spread of the Covid-19. As a result, we have suspended all competitions,” he said.
In light of the spread, personnel working at the CAF Headquarters have been directed to work from home effective 19 March 2020 till the end of March.
Furthermore, Ahmad said they were monitoring the situation closely and remained in constant touch with global partners such as World Health Organisation, FIFA and state agencies on the way forward.
“Also, my applauds go to the several African football legends and personalities who have embarked on a #Safehands campaign on various social media platforms to control the spread of the deadly virus. Let us stay together during these difficult times to fight the canker and restore our societies to normal state.”