Co-host of the 2012 African Cup of Nations, Equatorial Guinea is 86 to 87 per cent ready for the continental football tournament, according Local Organising Committee chairman Ruslan Obiang Nsue in an interview with Xinhua.
Nsue, who is also state secretary for youths and sports, confirmed the completion of the two major stadiums picked for the event, as well as other related structures such as training facilities, hotels and restaurants.
“I am in the position to say Equatorial Guinea is 86-87% set to host the tournament,” Nsue said. “Our major infrastructures are set, including the two main stadiums, the Bata Stadium of 35,000 seats where the opening ceremonies will hold, and the Malabo 15,200 seater. Not to talk of hotels, training facilities, restaurants, security and logistics.”
There have been speculations of slow preparation in Gabon, the other co-host of the tournament, but Nsue assured that things were moving there at a fast pace too.
“I can confirm that Gabon is 80-82% set for the Afcon. It is true there had been some delays but things have picked up and they are almost through with the major aspects of preparation, thanks to personal efforts from Head of State Ali Bongo,” Nsue said.
Guinea Equatorial has invested €21 million to prepare for the tournament, principally meant to develop sports facilities in the tiny central African country, according to the local organising committee boss, but it is hoped that the arrival of French coach Henri Michel will strengthen the Nzalang Nacional currently being groomed to stage a worthwhile outing during the showpiece.
“This is new experience for Guinea Equatorial football. The first thing we did was bringing in a renowned coach so we can improve our football alongside,” Nsue noted.
“Henri Michel has great experience in African football being the former coach of Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina and South Africa. And since he came here the Nzalang Nacional have played five games without losing.”
The 2012 African Cup of Nations is set for January 21 to February 12, 2012.