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Togo were promised Angola was safe for African Cup of Nations
Published : 09 Jan 2010 20:24:51
How did Angola earn the right to host the African Cup of Nations? The African Football Federation (CAF) made the decision in 2006 to introduce a rotational policy for the tournament to give smaller, emerging countries the chance to host the continent's showpiece event. Angola won the right to bid after seeing off Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia in a preliminary round, before beating bids from Libya, Nigeria and a joint offer from Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Why were they awarded the tournament? Issa Hayatou, the CAF chairman, announced in September 2006 that Angola's bid was the strongest, despite the country's bloody recent history. Secretary-general Mustapha Fahmy said the 13-man CAF Committee unanimously agreed to hand Angola hosting rights without recourse to the usual nine-month bidding process. What about the country's security issues? A CAF inspection team, including World Cup 2010 organiser Danny Jordaan and a representative of FIFA, visited Angola for five days in 2006 and offered praise for the country's infrastructure, with special reference to security. All 16 participating nations had been offered assurances their players and staff would be safe. Why hold games in Cabinda? Angola's bid contained a plan to build three stadiums completely from scratch to host the tournament, as well as revamping the partly-condemned Cidadela Stadium in the capital Luanda, including the Chinese-built ground in Cabinda city, which was slated to host six group games and one quarter-final. Both the Foreign Office and the US State Department agree that while Cabinda city is comparatively safe, "all but essential travel to the interior of Cabinda province" is inadvisable. At this stage, it remains unclear why the Togo team drove, rather than flew, to their tournament base. What are the rebels fighting about? Cabinda boasts most of Angola's lucrative oil reserves and about 200 rebels have fought for more than 30 years to secure independence and a greater share of the revenues. The conflict between the Angolan government and FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda) officially ended in 2006, and Angola's authorities have been keen to prove the exclave separated from the rest of the country by a small sliver of land belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo is both peaceful and, crucially for the oil industry, under their control.