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2015 Orange AFCON : President Obiang Nguema To Honour Former African Players 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Former players of national football teams that have brought glory to their countries in particular and the African continent in general will receive special honours from the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, host of the ongoing 2015 Orange African Cup of Nations, AFCON.

The revelation was made in Yaounde last January 15, during a conference by the Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the event, Dr. Banao Al Hussein, of Burkina Faso nationality. Participants at the conference included presidents of the elite clubs in Cameroon and former national team players.

In the opening remarks, the moderator of the conference, Janvier Mbia Mba, the President of Division One clubs, Faustin Donkeu, and the former captain of the Indomitable Lions, Stephen Tataw, all paid tributes to President Obiang Nguema for accepting to host the 2015 AFCON. It should be recalled that Morocco that was initially programmed to host the tournament withdrew at the last minute over the Ebola scare.

Tataw who spoke for former national team players thanked Dr. Banao for the initiative where former African players that brought glory to their nations would be recognised and honoured at the 30th edition of AFCON 2015.

“Thanks for recognising the contributions we made to football in the yester years,” he added, while urging other Africans of goodwill to follow the good example. “We were wondering why we are just being forgotten after doing much in terms of football for the continent,” Tataw stated.

When Dr. Banao took the floor, he referred to Teodoro Obiang Nguema, as a reputable Pan African figure, who saved the African Football Confederation, CAF, from shame by accepting to host the 2015 AFCON at a very short notice after the withdrawal of Morocco at the 11th hour. He said the move to get the tournament hosted out of Africa in desperation was a serious threat not only to the honour of CAF, but to that of the continent and its people.

He quoted Obiang Nguema as having declared that the country will do everything to get the event organised in the best conditions possible. Banao said Obiang’s courage to accept to host an event that takes four years for a nation to prepare must be recognised and appreciated.

He revealed that while President Obiang Nguema will be recognising and honouring former national team players from across Africa during a series of distinction ceremonies, Presidents of first division clubs in the continent will also be presenting a jersey each of their clubs carrying their cultural symbols to the Equato-Guinean leader. The decoration of Obiang by other African leaders was also announced.

According to Banao, some 116 clubs had confirmed as of January 15, to be part of the event slated from February 5 to 7, 2015. “Former Division One club Presidents who could make it to Equatorial Guinea will be very welcomed,” he stated. Urging club Presidents to demonstrate transparency and judicious management of resources that are likely to trickle from their trip to Equatorial Guinea, he called on them to intensify the training of young people and orientate them away from criminal activities.

Dr. Banao used the occasion to announce the construction of a Pan African Centre for Development and Promotion of Sports in Cameroon coupled with its Executive Secretariat. He declared that one of the aspects of the vision of the ongoing project which he conceived is to have Africans coaching their teams in 25 years from now.