March 17, 2020 / 3:48 PM / in 11 days

Second-tier African Nations Championship postponed due to coronavirus

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - The African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Confederation of African Football said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 16-team tournament is held every two years and restricted to quasi-national teams, made up of home-based players only.

It was due also to test Cameroon’s readiness ahead of next January’s 24-team Africa Cup of Nations — the continent’s top sporting event — after last year’s tournament had to be moved to Egypt because Cameroon was deemed to be too far behind with its preparations.

The decision to delay the CHAN, scheduled for April, came after a medical appraisal of the situation in Cameroon, where 10 cases of COVID-19 have been reported.

“Even though the situation is being considered as under control in Cameroon... the crisis is not yet stabilised in Africa and it’s very difficult to predict its evolution in the next few days,” the statement said.

The decision follows on the suspension by CAF last week of two rounds of scheduled qualifiers for the next Cup of Nations, which were due to be played later this month.

Many African countries have over the last days suspended domestic competition, including several who were due to send teams to CHAN.

Earlier on Tuesday the 2020 European Championship and Copa America competitions were postponed until 2021.

Reporting By Josiane Kouagheu; Writing by Edward McAllister and Mark Gleeson; Editing by Alessandra Prentice/Mitch Phillips

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