The cancelling of the 2020 African Women’s Cup of Nations, AWCON by the CAF Executives during the June 30, 2020, conference has sparked a wave of debates on TV, Radio and Social Media platforms.
Many football lovers have questioned why CAF opted for the cancellation and not for the postponement of the discipline that has gained a lot of exposure and admiration in the continent and the world at large.
Worthy to note, is the fact that, one of the decisions of the June 30, Executive Conference of CAF was the cancellation of the 2020 African Women’s Cup of Nations intially scheduled for November – December 2020. This decision motivated the creation of the CAF Women’s League Championship.
Reasons For The Cancellation Of The 2020 AWCON : Isha Johansen Explains
The Chairperson of the CAF Organizing Committee for Women’s Football, Isha Johansen says the decision was reached after extensive and consultative meetings by the commission in charge.
The CAF official made this statement recently during an interview on soka25east.
Johansen Isha said the cancellation was prompted by the health crisis facing the world and Africa to be specific.
“For the 2020 AWCON, there were circumstances beyond our control which made it difficult for CAF to organize it, and all options were explored but no avail”, the CAF official say.
Johansen Isha who also doubles as the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, explained that organisational logistics were one of the factors that let to the cancellation.
The host of the 2020 AWCON, Congo had bowed out in July 2019, due to financial difficulties.
South Africa was consulted by CAF but the South African state declined, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea tendered in their bids, an action that lacked support documents from their various governments.
The CAF Women’s football technical expert states;
“We did not have an option other than to cancel for three main reasons. First, the withdrawal of Congo meant that we find a new host. For that, the bid was reopened. Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea expressed interest. However, both lacked the most important support documents which were the letter of support from their respective governments”.
She emphasized that the support documents from either the Nigerian or the Equatorial Guinean governments were clear prove that the countries are not ready to host, most especially, in the context of the #COVID19.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 which has led to the suspension of all football activities around the continent and indeed the rest of the world. Due to the fact that, the qualifiers initially scheduled for April 2020, had to be postponed indefinitely”, the Chair of the CAF Organizing Committee for Women’s Football adds.
FIFA Counters Decision
The decision to cancel the AWCON by CAF for the next four years has been received with disappointment by the FIFA Chief, Gianna Infantino and his close associates.
“Women’s Football is an absolute priority to FIFA. #COVID19 should not be used as a way to sideline Women’s Football. On the contrary we need to help promote Women’s Football because it has a promising future” FIFA Chief said during the recent World Football Summit
FIFA Secretary General, Senegalese born Fatma Satimoura, has weigh-in to support Infantino’s view.
According to the one time FIFA Delegate to Africa between August 2019 – February 2020
“Four years is too much time to shatter dreams of young girls who love to make a future in football”.
She adds that FIFA has decided to reimburse 500, 000 US dollars to every football association to help promote Women’s football in the world.