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African Nations Championship in Cameroon postponed over coronavirus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Cameroonian Minister of Sport Narcisse Mouelle Kombi delivers the opening speech for the start of the drawing ceremony for the African Championship of Nations (CHAN), in Yaounde, on February 17, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The African Nations Championship (CHAN), scheduled for Cameroon from April 4 to 25, has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers announced Tuesday.

"Despite the relatively low rate of COVID-19 spread on the continent compared to other parts of the world, it is difficult to predict its evolution," a Confederation of African Football (CAF) statement said.

"The restrictive and precautionary measures, taken by various governments to prevent the spread of the virus, have made it increasingly difficult for people to move from one place to another,” it added.

"Given these challenges, and in order to avoid risking the health of players, officials, partners and fans, CAF in consultation with the relevant Cameroonian authorities has decided to postpone the CHAN to a later date."

The CHAN is confined to footballers playing in their country of birth, unlike the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN), also a two-yearly competition but with no restrictions.

Because many African nations rely heavily on foreign-based stars for the Cup of Nations, CAF introduced the Nations Championship in 2008 to give more local players international exposure.

Morocco were due to defend a title they won in Casablanca two years ago and former champions include the Democratic Republic of Congo (twice), Tunisia and Libya.

(Source: AFP)

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