Remember way back in 2014, when Morocco requested that the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations be postponed due to concerns about the Ebola virus? The Confederation of African Football laughed off such concerns, then stripped Morocco of its hosting rights. Despite reports that no one in their right mind wanted to host AFCON, CAF still refused to delay the tournament. Instead, the Federation handed off hosting duties to Equatorial Guinea, a small nation that might have been disqualified for fielding an ineligible player, but sure had plenty of oil riches.
Equatorial Guinea not only had the cash, but possessed a bit of experience as well – it’d co-hosted the 2012 tournament alongside Gabon. But not even petrodollars can build an infrastructure in two months, it seems. The country, with a population of just over 700,000 and lacking a large tourism infrastructure it might exploit is already disappointing the teams arriving for AFCON.
According to Claude Le Roy, coach of Congo, there weren’t enough rooms for all of his players and staff. You might shrug and say, eh, but he’s French! He’s just used to complaining about something! But no, Le Roy’s hopes were very basic: “I don’t want a big five-star hotel. I just want something very clean.”
Turns out the man couldn’t even wash his hands due to a lack of water, so he probably shouldn’t be mocked all that much. The thing is, Congo arrived in Bata, the country’s largest city. In 2012, only Bata and the capital, Malabo, hosted matches. This time around, Mongomo and Ebebiyin, both in the country’s less populated interior, will also be destinations for the tournaments’ 16 teams. What sort of madness might be found on a trip to Equatorial Guinea’s beating heart? A shortage of soap? A lack of interior walls?