Cameroon hold first training session ahead of kick off

Olembe stadium

A general view of the Olembe stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, on August 8, 2021. The Africa Cup of Nations in January 2022 and February 2022 is a "beacon of hope" for a Cameroonian economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic and two conflicts, businessmen and traders say.
 

Photo credit: Daniel Beloumou Olomo | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The 33rd edition of the tournament will for the first time feature 24 teams and played in five cities of Cameroon.
  • The Central African country was initially awarded the hosting of the 2019 finals, but Confederation of African Football (CAF) later moved the competition to Egypt citing infrastructural delays by Cameroon.

The delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations hosts, Cameroon, were scheduled to hold their first official training session at the Olembe stadium on Tuesday afternoon as the Local Organising Committee began welcoming official delegations for the tournament which kicks off on Sunday.

Olembe will host Group 'A' games of the tournament beginning with the opener on Sunday pitting the Indomitable Lions against the Stallions of Burkina Faso, who were due to jet into Yaounde Tuesday evening from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where they have been camping.

The Burkinabes will be the fifth country to arrive in the host nation.

Ahead of the opening game, some Indomitable Lions players have said they are ready to make history at the tournament. 

Forward Christian Bassosog, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the 2017 edition, joined his teammates after days in isolation, told reporters in Yaounde that the 33rd edition will be the biggest tournament for him as it will take place on home soil.

He declared that there is a winning spirit within the team. 

“It is a great pleasure for me to reintegrate into the team because it hasn’t been easy spending five days in quarantine…the mentality and mindset (among players) is that of winning” the China-based striker said.

Midfielder Frank Zambo Anguissa noted that teamwork will lead them to victory.

“We are going to continue with same pace…we will put in our all to win the trophy on home soil which is our biggest objective,” the Napoli player said.

Midfielder James Lea Siliki and forward Vincent Aboubakar completed coach Antonio Conceicao’s list of 28 players when they joined the team on Sunday in Yaounde.

Cameroon is hoping to win a sixth trophy and to do that that 2017 champions will first have to overpower 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, 1962 winners Ethiopia and Cape Verde in the group stages.

The 33rd edition of the tournament will for the first time feature 24 teams and played in five cities of Cameroon.

The Central African country was initially awarded the hosting of the 2019 finals, but Confederation of African Football (CAF) later moved the competition to Egypt citing infrastructural delays by Cameroon.

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