Confederation of African Football (CAF) General Secretary Hicham El Amrani said at a news conference on Friday that he was confident the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon would pass smoothly, despite security fears.
El Amrani was talking at a news conference in the Gabon capital of Libreville on the eve of the tournament, which kicks off when the hosts face Guinea-Bissau on Saturday.
Gabon has suffered from political and economic uncertainty in the build-up to the tournament, with protests against President Ali Bong expected in some areas of the country.
Bongo was re-elected by fewer than 6,000 votes after a poll in August that the European Union said was marked by anomalies in Bongo’s stronghold province of Haut-Ogooue, where he won 95 percent on a 99.9 percent turnout.
Bongo became leader in 2009 on the death of his father, who ruled for 42 years. The win gives Bongo another seven years in office.
Because of the African Cup of Nations, legislative elections set for late December have been postponed.
El Amrani said CAF were aware of the security concerns, but said “contingency plans” were in place.
“We are pretty confident that things will go well but at the same time we have contingency plans in case anything goes wrong. But this is happening in Gabon or any host country where we go,” said the Moroccan.