MONGOMO, Equatorial Guinea _ Good news for teams scheduled to play on the fraying pitch in the stadiums of Mongomo and Ebebyin. Bad news for the vendors who have been cashing in on fans attending Africa Cup of Nations matches.
The Confederation of African Football, organizers of the premier football tournament for the continent, announced Tuesday that quarterfinal matches would be moved due to the state of the pitches in the two cities’ stadiums.
With Equatorial Guinea stepping in at the last minute to host the tournament, the stadiums had to have turf specially flown in from Spain, just weeks before the beginning of the tournament. But the turf hasn’t taken well, and grounds keeping staff have had to walk the pitches at halftime to replace segments that have been torn out by play.
Some organizers have also complained the stadiums are far too small to host the quarterfinal matches. And there’s been grumbling from teams about the state of accommodations in the distant cities.
Instead, the upcoming games will be played in the capital, Malabo, and the bustling port city of Bata.
While competing teams will be happier, vendors are clearly not. Amadou, a Cameroonian man selling shwarma to game goers, said he had rented his kiosk at a rate of $200 for three days. Now he’s out that investment.
“This horrible, and unfair for us, they didn’t inform us about all this,” he told VOA.