Cameroon’s Sports minister says he has signed a deal with the Chinese to build a series of new stadiums for the 2008 Nations Cup.
Cameroon’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Bidoung Mkpatt, says Cameroon is preparing an unbeatable bid for the 2008 Nations Cup.
Speaking in Yaounde, the minister said he had signed a deal with the Chinese government, which has agreed to construct a series of stadiums within six years.
A Chinese delegation is in Cameroon and has begun inspecting suitable sites.
Despite Cameroon’s success on the pitch and the strength of their players, the game is still hugely under funded.
The country cannot boast even one stadium of international standard.
The Nations Cup and Olympic Champions have to play their matches in the Réunification Stadium in Douala and the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
Both have been threatened with suspension by Fifa and Caf for their poor states.
« The Réunification Stadium since its construction in 1972, had lights just for just two years, » said stadium director Grebert Mandjeck.
« The structure had never been renovated », he added.
Captain Rigobert Song said it was time the Lions were able to play in the Nations Cup in front of their home fans.
« We know it’s difficult to be the host and emerge champions, but I assure you we’ve a ‘dream team’ to do it, » said Song.
Caf President Issa Hayatou, himself a Cameroonian, warned against his country being too over optimistic about hosting the tournament, saying it required constraint and financial sacrifices.
If Cameroon go ahead with a bid for 2008, they are likely to face a challenge from Gabon, who have already declared an interest in hosting the tournament.
It is 30 years since the Nations Cup was held in Cameroon, when in 1972 Congo beat Mali in the final.