Cameroon will be hosting the biggest football competition in Africa in less than a week. Participating teams have started arriving the country ahead of the football jamboree, and some sporting infrastructures have been well prepared ahead of the tournament.
The capital city of Cameroon – Yaounde will be hosting the grand opening ceremony and the closing ceremony amongst other games at the Olembe Football Stadium.
However, apart from the beautifully constructed structure, little positives can be pointed out from the town as a tournament host in it’s entirety.
Even among city dwellers, the notion is similar with most. The ambiance that characterises such rare events is significantly very absent from the town which remains an old rubble days to the tournament.
It is safe to say the only structures ready to host the competition remains the stadiums and the hotels. As a town that will host fans from eight different countries, the least that could be done is show the best of itself even if just for the tournament.
That is however inexplicably non-existent in the capital city’s outlook. Potholed roads, dusty streets, garbage filled entrances jam-packed with rampant street sellers and hawkers still remains the reality of Yaoundé.
The capital’s chaotic outlook is on show at the very sight of a public street of Yaoundé. At dusk, the night life equally remains little euphoric, with constant power cuts and not properly lit neighborhoods, or dead streetlights for some.
The transportation outlook of the town is an eyesore for a foreigner seeking to explore the city. The narrow roads and uncensored driving accounts for constant hold up at various points of the town.
What to make of the appalling state of some Taxis in Yaoundé? Most are in abject conditions fit for the dumpsters only.
The pungent ordors emanating from such cabs, whose drivers most often than not are arrogant and utterly disrespectful to their passengers irrespective of who they are, should leave the authorities biting their teeth at the impression that many will have of the country.
A general appraisal of the preparations ahead of the AFCON leaves alot of question marks.
Except for some painted roads, and some few billboards and flags hoisted in some major streets of the town, Yaounde has remained massively under prepared to welcome foreigners.
Some city dwellers have also bashed the underwhelming preparation being made by the authorities, and believe that more should be done not only with the stadiums and hotels, but with the town as a whole.
“The truth is when I look around my neighbourhood, nothing has changed. Some work was being done on the road, but very poor. The dust on it is unbearable and when it is watered, it just turns to mud,” complained a resident of Nkolmesseng in Yaoundé.
“When it comes to the decor, the ambiance, it’s practically empty and not as if we are awaiting a footballing festival here in Yaoundé especially,” another said.
To him, “the authorities have decided to concentrate only on the neighborhoods that will directly be involved in the AFCON one way or the other, because apart from those, the rest remain non-existent as usual.”
Another city dweller also expressed his dissatisfaction and dissapointement with the preparation: “honestly my expectations when I knew we were going to host the AFCON especially in Yaoundé were very high.”
“I thought we were going to benefit from a significant facelift with the AFCON, but it has remained practically the same if not worse than I thought. I have no doubt that we will host a beautiful tournament, but everything ends at the stadium. Out of it, Yaoundé remains Yaoundé we need to do more” He said.