Afcon: Mascot wears bulletproof vest to promote peace in Cameroon

Afcon: Mascot wears bulletproof vest to promote peace in Cameroon

Human rights campaigners have warned that escalating violence in Cameroon would endanger the safety of Premier League stars when the Africa Cup of Nations opens next month. Afcon: The mascot wears a bulletproof vest to promote peace in Cameroon.

The African showcase, which features 24 teams from around the continent and was scheduled to begin on January 9,  is likely to be postponed due to the crisis.

More than 40 players from the English Premier League are expected to compete, including Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, and Mohamed Elneny; Aston Villa’s Trezeguet; Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy; Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha; Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez; and the Liverpool trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita.

Despite mounting concerns that teams and the tournament may be targeted in an increasingly fierce and brutal conflict, there is no indication that the event will be postponed or that arrangements will be altered to mitigate the risk.

The majority of the debate surrounding the event has centered on the elite players’ release date and the potential of a coronavirus pandemic (covid-19). The new lethal omicron is rapidly spreading over the globe.

‘There are growing requests to postpone the AFCON until the warring parties agree to a truce and start peace talks,’ Rebecca Tinsley, a human rights researcher and member of Cameroon’s Global Campaign for Peace and Justice, told Sportsmail.

This has prompted several governments to require three or four coronavirus vaccinations. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning that the protocols must be followed and that people must continue to get their vaccinations.

Patrice Motsepe, President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), visited with Cameroon President Paul Biya this week and assured him that the tournament will go through as planned.

Human rights organisations, on the other hand, have informed Sportsmail that they believe there is a serious risk to players and staff, and that the tournament should be postponed or, at the very least, matches shifted away from the most dangerous part of the country.

The Afcon is expected to begin on January 9 – February 6, 2022.

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By Athleticshour

Sekyere Richard has had a 10-year involvement in the sport of athletics. He holds a Diploma in Physical Fitness. Sekyere has experienced the sport as a middle/distance athlete, coach, and now journalist and blogger. Sekyere has published several articles on athletics from Ghanaian Athletics to World Athletics. He currently owns and manages the content and marketing development of Athletics Hour. "I am passionate about sports, love writing and interviewing, traveling, and meeting new athletes and coaches. I like to expose the hidden talents in the youth and I am always in search of talents across Ghana". I have volunteered in one of the biggest ultra-marathons in the world "The Elton Ultra Marathon in Russia. Covered many races in Ghana including ECOWAS CAA Region II Championship and multiple roads and track races in Ghana. In 2021, he launched the "Better Ghana Athletics Agenda", which will help support organisers, athletes and coaches in all directions.

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