Cameroon’s ability to host the 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) has once again been put to doubt as the company charged with the construction of the main stadium for the competition has abandoned the project.
The Cameroon government withdrew the contract for the construction of the Olembe Sports Complex in Yaoundé on grounds that Italian company Piccini was not delivering on time.
The complex that includes a 60,000 capacity stadium to host the opening game of the tournament was due to be completed in December last year but the government says Piccini unilaterally abandoned the project site.
Cameroon’s minister of Sports and Physical Education, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, said the construction of the complex, including the stadium named after the country’s long-serving president Paul Biya, had been rescinded from the Italian company and awarded to Canadian firm, MAGIL Construction.
In a statement on Friday which cancelled the contract of the Italian company, Mouelle Kombi said the work had been abandoned even after the government showed good faith by making available the sum of FCFA 2 billion (3.3 million US dollars)to get work started. The minister had earlier issued a two-week ultimatum for Piccini to complete the pitch.
In reaction, Piccini in a communiqué said it could seek legal action both at national and international levels for the government decision to be reversed.
The new contractor, MAGIL that was due to start work yesterday has promised to deliver the infrastructure by June 2020. Franck Mathiere, the firm’s Vice president for International Operations said in Yaounde on Tuesday that they will complete the works within record time.
“We will immediately work on the stadium, especially the pitch before the next inspection by the Confederation of African Football. A greater part of the work has already been done and we are going to use Canadian expertise to complete it,” Franck Mathiere said.
The Canadian company is also in charge of renovating the decades old Reunification Stadium in Douala.