The ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has continued to experience low attendance at the venues that hosted the just concluded group matches due to strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and the high cost of tickets.
CAF has made it mandatory for everyone coming to watch the matches to be vaccinated before gaining entrance into the stadiums.
Speaking with a cross-section of fans in Garoua, some said they didn’t want to be vaccinated while others said they couldn’t afford the tickets.
It will be noted that at every game, fans, journalists, officials among others are expected to present a COVID certificate which must have been issued less than 24 hours before each game.
CAF also imposed restrictions on crowd numbers, with stadiums only allowed to be filled to 60 percent of capacity, rising to 80 per cent for matches involving the hosts
Mohammed Siddi, an entrepreneur, told our reporter that an average Cameroon fan loves football but is not ready to get vaccinated or get tested.
“An average Cameroon fan loves football and would do anything to watch games. Most young ones here have not witnessed this kind of tournament before but they are not willing to get vaccinated let alone get tested,” he said.
A motorcycle driver who simply gave his name as Umar said he couldn’t afford to be buying tickets every match as he would prefer to watch the games from the television. It was gathered that the prices of tickets range from 3000CFA to 10,000CFA.
“I want to watch the games live but to pay such an amount for different games is what I can’t afford right now. I may be able to pay to watch one game but not all the games here. So I go to viewing centres to watch the games I want,” he stated.
A CAF official who spoke under anonymity said the rules can’t be changed just to allow more fans in.
“The COVID result and test is a requirement to enter the stadium and we are strict about it. It’s unfortunate there is a virus and this is part of the measures to stop the virus from spreading,” she said.