The friendly match between Ivory Coast and Mali was interrupted on Tuesday due to a soggy pitch, four months before the African Cup of Nations (CAN) which will be held in Ivory Coast.
“We take this opportunity to apologize and understand the bitterness of our compatriots for this inconvenience. We understand them and apologize on behalf of the Ministry of Sports and the Ivorian Football Federation,” declared Paulin Danho.
Tuesday evening, heavy stormy rain fell on Abidjan, making the pitch of the Alassane Ouattara stadium in Ebimpé in the north of the city completely impassable and forcing the referees to stop the match at the break (0-0).
Mr. Danho said he called on experts to “make corrections”, including drainage, in order to “take into account the rain”, four months before the start of the CAN which Ivory Coast will host from January 13 to February 11, 2024.
“The competition will indeed take place in our country. You have noticed that the Yamoussoukro stadium, that of Bouaké and San Pedro show us that our stadiums are established and ready,” he assured.
“The facilities of this stadium, approved by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), are not at this time in question,” government spokesperson Amadou Coulibaly declared on Wednesday, assuring that he was not necessary to take “sanctions”.
Initially scheduled for June and July 2023, the CAN was postponed to be held in early 2024, in order to avoid the matches taking place in the middle of the rainy season.
Although the month of January is among the least rainy of the year, thunderstorms at the end of the day sometimes occur, particularly in Abidjan.