Chairperson of the CAF Organizing Committee for women’s football, Isha Johanssen, has said a lot of consideration was made before the cancellation of the 2020 Women’s AFCON.
It was announced in June by CAF that the 2020 AWCON has been cancelled due to Covid-19. However, the inaugural Women’s Champions League will take place in 2021.
Johanssen said it was not just the coronavirus that led to the scrapping of the tournament.
“For the 2020 AWCON, there were certain circumstances beyond our control which made it difficult to organize,” she said.
“All options were explored but to no avail. Let’s take a look at the three main areas and reasons why we had to cancel it.
“Firstly, the withdrawal of the host, Congo, meant that we had to look for a new host, the bid was reopened and we received bids from Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. However, both bids lacked the most important document. That document has been a letter of support from their government. If you can’t get a letter of support from your government to host a country, it becomes quite complex and problematic in the long run because we cannot organize competition without support or guarantee from the host country.”
She further stressed: “The second point is the outbreak of Covid-19. Now as we all know this led to the suspension of all football activities around the continent, and the rest of the world so the qualifiers initially scheduled for April 2020, had to be postponed indefinitely. With women’s AFCON being a senior national team competition, we could only schedule matches based on the FIFA calendar which was affected by Covid and the women’s calendar was revised, and it left us with two window opportunities been September and October for qualifiers.
“Again, there was the closure of borders across continents so it was very unlikely that we would be able to honour these matches within these two window opportunity days taken into consideration the travelling restrictions within the continent and of course we have the qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and FIFA U-20 Women’s Cup which would have to be completed this year.”
She also said it was mainly due to “the current global situation and it has nothing to do with another agenda other than we simply cannot hold the competition during the abnormal times.”
Johansen, who is the head of the Sierra Leonean Football Federation, reiterated CAF’s support for women’s football.
“With regards to the cancellation of the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, women’s football means a lot to CAF and we take pride not only in the fact that we have women’s football on our calendar, but also the fact that we’re also facing this challenge head-on and we are making great strives to change the narrative.”
By Sakyibea Ofori|Contributor|Ghana