In a statement released today, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has confirmed that all Afcon qualifiers will go ahead behind closed doors and without spectators.
These measures are set to strengthen the security system of the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers this month.
This comes after CAF held a video conference with the National Safety and Security Officers (NSSO) of the Member Associations on the 4th of November 2020.
The purpose of the conference was to inform and train them on the new safety and security protocol imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to supervise the resumption of the AFCON qualification matches.
The following points were presented by the Head of CAF Safety and Security Department:
- the organization of matches behind closed doors and without spectators,
- the new accreditation control mechanism and new accreditation zones,
- the differences between upcoming matches and previous ones,
- the need for each Member Association (MA) to have a good safety and security plan before the effective resumption of official matches.
CAF redefined on this occasion the missions of the NSSOs by providing them with practical advice and guidelines on each of these points. For Dr. Christian Emeruwa, Head of the Safety and Security Department:
“Our goal is to ensure that there is uniformity in safety and security operations across Africa with an emphasis on making sure that the matches are played under a safe and secured environment.
“We are mindful of the enormous task ahead, especially how to keep spectators and supporters away from the stadium. Hence, we felt the need to guide all National safety and security officers and appointed CAF safety and security officers on best practices under these conditions. The protection of the players and officials before, during, and after the match is of great importance in our operations. We need to ensure effective coordination between safety and security officers and all other health officers that will be involved in delivering each match,” he said.
The NSSOs will receive a detailed protocol, specific to each match, which will guide them through the various stages of the organization of the matches scheduled for November 9 to 17, 2020.
Since the creation in February 2019 of the Safety and Security Department, CAF has worked closely with the security officers of the MAs through meetings, seminars, and training; capacity building sessions in accordance with the objectives of the organization to place safety and security operations during organized football matches as a top priority of its action.
By Mauwane Raophala