The President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe has expressed confidence that the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off in Ivory Coast on January 13, 2024, will not witness a repeat of the tragic incidents that marred the 2022 tournament in Cameroon.
“I am satisfied the appropriate steps have been taken to make sure we will totally avoid the painful experience we had in Cameroon,” stated Motsepe, while addressing reporters in Abidjan ahead of the opening game between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau on Saturday at the Alassane Quattara stadum.
“The Cameroon accident was absolutely avoidable,” admitted Motsepe, the South African who became CAF president in March 2021. “For as long as I am president, whether I know or don’t know, whether I am aware or not aware, I ultimately have to take responsibility for anything that happens.”
The tragedy at Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium, which left eight people dead and scores more injured in a crush and stampede that happened before Cameroon and the Comoros’ last-16 match, marred the history of the 2022 AFCON.
Speaking about Ivory Coast’s preparations, Motsepe expressed satisfaction, saying, “I am satisfied that there is a huge amount of determination and commitment, and I think we are on the right track.”
The 24-team tournament in Ivory Coast will see matches staged in six stadiums in five cities, with two venues in economic capital Abidjan and others in the capital Yamoussoukro, Bouake, San Pedro, and Korhogo.