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African Nations Championship kicks off amid security fears

A billboard reading "Cameroon Celebrates Africa" is seen in a market in Yaounde on January 2, 2021 announcing the holding of the African Championship of Nations.   -  
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The postponed 2020 African Nations Championship kicks off in Cameroon on Saturday.

There will be a ceremony and the hosts will play Zimbabwe in an inaugural match for Group A in the capital Yaounde.

But this year, security efforts have been stepped up to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This year, stadium capacity has been reduced to 25% for the first rounds and 50% for the second as part of COVID measures.

Troops have also been deployed as separatists have vowed to stop the games in restive English-speaking regions.

The matches will be played in Limbe for Pool D, Douala for Pool B and C and Yaounde for Pool A.

On security issues for teams based in the anglo region of Limbe, Constant Omarim the interim president of the CAF. said that Cameroon President Paul Biya has guaranteed the security of all participants in the competition.

"The Head of State gave us the assurance of all the provisions for everyone to be secure and that the competition will take place in the best conditions," Omari said.

"He is concerned about the safety of those who will come to play but we think of everyone who will come there."

Cameroon's first match is expected to see star player Jacques Zoua shine. He put his career in European football on hold so he could play in the CHAN championship.

The second match for group A will see one of the favourites the Eagles of Mali face the Stallions of Burkina, who have only competed in the games twice

CHAN will serve as a warm-up for Cameroon ahead of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations

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