AFCON 2023 – Cote D’Ivoire: Worries over readiness – At a glance

With seven months to go before the 2023 African Cup of Nations, uncertainties surrounding the Laurent Pokou Stadium
With seven months to go before the competition, all the sports infrastructures have not yet been delivered. But the political and sports authorities are reassuring that the delivery deadlines will be met. However, the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro needs a last minute adjustment.

A new inspection visit of the sports infrastructure selected for the 2023 AFCON was completed on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in the city of San Pedro. Started on April 27, this visit led by Idriss Diallo, visited the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium and the Alassane Ouattara Stadium of Ebimpe in Abidjan and suburbs. The delegation, which includes CAF’s project managers, also toured the fields that will serve as training camps during the competition. The cities of Yamoussoukro, Bouaké and Korhogo were also visited by the Cocan. The last site, which is that of San Pedro, has thus closed this globally satisfactory inspection of Cocan even if concerning San Pedro precisely a big delay could come to plume the atmosphere.

An entire tribune to be redone at the Laurent Pokou Stadium?
Seven months before the CAN, a major problem has arisen at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro. Indeed, the Confederation of African Football has asked to move the entire press box that logically overlooks the media center (press area). According to the information in our possession, it is very badly placed. The CAF requires separation bars with the ordinary stands. A real headache when the infrastructure was to be delivered in late April but this has been postponed to June 2023. Will the deadline be tenable as expressed by the sports and political authorities?

“If we do what CAF is asking, it will be very difficult to finish this stadium. We don’t say it but the teams have been working hard for years. There, we are close to the goal and there is a whole section to destroy to remake it if we want to make something clean. As a technician, I can assure you that this will delay the delivery, but the policy has spoken … We will see”, confided to Sport News Africa (SNA), an expert in construction and public works of the National Office of Technical Studies and Development (Bnetd), an organization that follows the work of the various sites, who asked not to be quoted given the delicacy of everything that concerns the CAN 2023 currently.

With seven months to go before the event, it is difficult to be objective about the infrastructure without incurring the wrath of the authorities. The key word is optimism. And the members of the Cocan and the ONS play this card thoroughly.

“We will see how to do all this quickly”.

Reached by SNA on May 4, 2023, the Director of the National Sports Office, one of the kingpins of the supervision of the work, lifted a corner of the veil on the recommendations of CAF. “Indeed, CAF has asked that the media zone be relocated or adjusted if you can say it like that. It is placed in the center of the stadium and CAF wants it to be more off-center. But this does not mean that we have to break everything”, says Mrs. Yoda Mariam before being somewhat surprised by the late reaction of CAF.

“We have done all the work according to the specifications of CAF. Everything was followed to the letter. So we do not understand that today, when we are caught by the deadlines because there are seven months left, we are told to change the location of a zone. But we will see how to do all this quickly because the CAN is the competition of CAF and everything must be respected, “she reassures, not without mentioning a slight constraint. “Everything will be done but we must see if it does not require an extension of the budget,” fears the former international handballer.

Last minute information indicates that the Ivorian authorities have been informed of the new upgrade of the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro. They should agree with CAF for new deadlines not too long. Better still, a special CAF mission will arrive in Abidjan in the coming days to see how to plug the gaps. The National Sports Office will also be on the scene from this Friday, May 5, 2023 in addition to a delegation of Bnetd. Côte d’Ivoire is still running against the clock, seven months before the Ccompetition, which has been postponed to January 2024.

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