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The wait is finally over for Cameroon, which hosts the Africa Cup of Nations three years later than initially planned as its own Indomitable Lions seems to be ready to face Burkina Faso in their first AFCON 2021 match.
"If we give it our all and do what is necessary, I think we will win the game. No game is easy against African teams. All African teams have reached a certain level. We have to give our best, be united and be really, really ambitious to be able to win the matches," said Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso captain Bertrand Traore has deplored as "a scandal" coronavirus testing procedures at the Africa Cup of Nations after up to five players and coach Kamou Malo tested positive in the run-up to Sunday's opener against hosts Cameroon.
The Aston Villa forward told a press conference in Yaounde on Saturday: "It's a scandal, we cannot be deprived of first team players 24 hours before the match."
Assistant coach Firmin Sanou, standing in for Malo, said: "We have four or five Covid cases, mainly first team players, we're not going to name names."
"It calls everything into question, but we have confidence in the players who will replace them," continued Sanou, who hit out at the organization with two different medical teams arriving to test the team.
"Yesterday morning (Friday) a medical team showed up at our hotel for tests, when we tried to understand who had sent them, the CAF (African Football Confederation) clearly told us that they hadn't sent them so we refused to do the tests," said Sanou.
"Another team arrived at 10 p.m., apparently the CAF team, we carried out the tests which informed us of 4 to 5 cases of Covid.
"I say 4 or 5 because they say that our first player tested did not carry out the test ... " he continued.
The Burkinabè delegation are disputing the fact that the tests were not PCR tests, which must be carried out 48 hours before the match, and have requested a second opinion.
Traore said: "The authorities must review the organisation. We cannot accept this decision. We can redo tests of our positive players."
As part of CAF’s efforts to ensure the integrity of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is upheld, Integrity officers of all the participating were instructed to educate and create awareness on all integrity related matters ahead of the tournament.
The Integrity Officer of the Ghana Football Association, Obed Tuffuor briefed Ghana's delegation to the AFCON via Zoom,on the Friday, January 7, 2022, on several integrity matters and urged members of delegation to adhere to the Integrity guideline and principles as provided by the continents football governing body CAF.
These guidelines and principles will ensure that delegates exhibit high levels of loyalty, Integrity, sportsmanship and Ethics throughout the tournament which will be held from Sunday, January 9 - Sunday, February 6, 2022 in Cameroon.