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Friday, 20 September, 2002, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Wafu seek alternative venue
Nigeria's Wafu team
The Nigerian team are confined to their Abidjan hotel

The West African Football Union (Wafu) have said it will not allow football in the sub-region to be ruined by the cancellation of its eight-nation competition in the Ivory Coast.

"This competition must hold in another country later this year, or we may not have a second edition," said Aka Malan, Wafu's secretary-general.

Speaking to BBC Sport Online from his Bouake hotel, the Wafu scribe confirmed that the participating teams are safe and will be sent home as soon as calm is restored in the country, following Thursday's attempted military coup.

But reports from Bouake confirm that there is insufficient food to feed the teams, as the hotels have run out of supplies and cannot go out to replenish stock.

West African football has been afflicted by organizational problems in recent years and Malan admits that the cancellation of this tournament does not help Wafu's cause.

"I accept that we don't seem to be a very lucky organisation. After having a very good opening ceremony, we were looking forward to a good competition.

"The two opening games went well but this situation, which we never expected, has spoilt everything.

"As an Ivorian, I'm embarrassed and really ashamed that this has happened. But what can I do? We have no control over the political situation," Malan said.

The secretary-general said that an extra-ordinary general assembly, originally scheduled to take place in Abidjan on 28 September, will be moved to another member country, where they will discuss the fate of the tournament.

"If the 16 member countries of Wafu regard this competition as their baby, they must look after it and give football in the sub-region a bright future," Malan said.


Wafu Cup crisis
See also:

19 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | Africa
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