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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Wafu Cup: The doomed tournament
The Houphet Boigny stadium
The cup needed a last-minute change of venue

After Thursday's events in Ivory Coast, many football fans will now be asking one big question: is the Wafu Cup cursed?

Just as many were breathing a sigh of relief that the big kick-off had finally happened, an armed unrest erupted in major cities in Ivory Coast where, after months of delay, the Wafu Nations Cup had finally got under way.

After a last-minute change of stadium, it seemed that the devil with the bad luck had been vanquished all these months, but the champagne corks were popped too soon.

The tournament has now been indefinitely postponed with at least three of the teams trapped in a hotel in Bouake.

Wafu had been waiting for two years to revive its national team competition and also the club championship.

Both had been dogged by withdrawals, lack of funds and also to a large extent a lack of commitment by some of the 16 member nations.

Troubled times

Last year all was set for this same Nations Cup to be played in Senegal, but the sponsors pulled out of the event.

After that there was a row between Wafu and the Confederation of African Football over the timing of the event and how it would have rivalled the African Nations Cup, which was to be played in Mali.

Caf ordered it to be shifted to February this year, but even before that decision, Senegal had been replaced by Ivory Coast as host.

Wafu competitions (both club and national team) used to be the most illustrious African sub-regional competitions, but both Southern and Central African championships have eclipsed it, as they bankroll their events to make it attractive.

It will be interesting to see what happens next as the officials of Wafu realise now that they also need luck more than anything else to go through this troubled times.

Meanwhile if this one is rescheduled and there is a change of venue to a town near you, the best advice might well be to move house for a few weeks...


Wafu Cup crisis
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