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CAF President Patrice Motsepe ‘Reassured’ by Ivory Coast’s AFCON Preparations

The Confederation of African Football president, Patrice Motsepe, said he was “reassured” by the progress made by the Ivory Coast on a visit to the next Africa Cup of Nations hosts on Monday.

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“We are confident that the AFCON you will organise here will be the best,” Motsepe said after meeting Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan.

“We are reassured by the different infrastructure that you have put in place to host this competition.

“I am satisfied with the progress made, even if there are still some problems to sort out.”

The Ivory Coast is due to host the Cup of Nations in June and July of 2023, just 18 months on from the last AFCON in Cameroon at the beginning of this year.

The continental showpiece is reverting to the same mid-year slot in which the 2019 Cup of Nations in Egypt was held.

The west African country, which last hosted the tournament in 1984, is building or renovating six stadiums for the competition.

Three are almost finished: the 60,000-capacity national stadium in Ebimpe, just outside Abidjan, as well as a 40,000-seat venue in the central city of Bouake that has been refurbished, and the 20,000-capacity ground in Yamoussoukro.

Two other 20,000-capacity venues — in the coastal port city of San Pedro and in the northern city of Korhogo — are both between 60 and 70 percent finished, according to the government office supervising the projects.

However, rebuilding work at the 33,000-seat Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in central Abidjan is taking longer and is understood to be only 25 percent finished.

Meanwhile, Motsepe said Ivorian football “deserved unity” and insisted there would be “no losers” in upcoming elections for president of the country’s football federation (FIF).

Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba is among the candidates but lacks support from among the country’s clubs.

The FIF was placed under the supervision of a FIFA normalisation committee in December 2020 in an attempt to get it out of its governance crisis.

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