The Confederation of African Football (Caf) have committed to much better pitches at Afcon 2019 after the quality of pitches was a matter of great concern at the just concluded edition in Gabon.
Players and coaches complained about the quality of the pitches during the three-week tournament and the continental governing body have revealed that they will do everything possible to ensure that pitches are high quality in Cameroon, the next hosts.
Caf spokesperson Junior Binyam disclosed: “Our consultants for Caf pitches will start working from now with Cameroon to make sure that everything will be okay on the D-day when it comes to Afcon 2019.
“We are considering in the future to have a couple of games on those new pitches to be able to certify that they are in good condition to support the games and a tournament of this standard.”
However, Binyam said that despite this glitch, Afcon 2017 was a successful tournament, especially considering that Gabon had less than 15 months to put in place this tournament, “which is the third highest football tournament in the world”.
“They had two venues and a bit of experience from 2012 when they co-hosted with Equatorial Guinea but there were two new venues to be put in place in a short period of time.
“We are not undermining that we had a challenge with pitches, not only the pitch of Port Gentil and that challenge we mentioned prior to the kickoff of the tournament.
“We mentioned that if there is a single challenge to be considered, it will be the pitch of Port Gentil because a lot was done to have the best pitch ever but some conditions did not allow it to happen.”
Ghana left back Baba Rahman attributed his knee injury to the pitch in Port Gentil while Egypt, who also played in Group D, lost up to five players through injuries but Binyam insisted that there is no scientific proof to show that their injuries were connected to the pitch.
Cameroon will host Afcon 2019 at four venues including the newly renovated Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo and the Limbe Stadium that successfully hosted the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.