Every two years, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) lights up the world of football. In a month-long show, stars from across the continent adopt their national colours and battle for the right to be called champions of Africa. AFCON 2021 was due to be played in June-July 2021. Pandemic disruptions forced its delay, and the tournament now kicks off on 9 January 2022, when hosts Cameroon take on Burkina Faso.
Africell is proud to be official GSM partner to two of the teams vying for glory at AFCON 2022. Sierra Leone has not played at AFCON since 1996, and The Gambia (which is the smallest country in continental Africa) has never previously qualified. The Leone Stars and Gambia Scorpions have already overcome steep odds on the road to Cameroon, beating bigger and more fancied teams to earn their coveted places in the finals. The tournament itself is a mouth-watering opportunity for a new generation of players to step onto to a global stage and prove what they are capable of.
Africell’s support has financial, logistical and technical aspects. Benefitting from Africell’s position as a leading telecommunications operator, both teams enter the competition equipped with the tools needed for success on and off the pitch. No team competes alone. Just as much as the players in the stadium, millions of fans around the world are the lifeforce of any triumphant squad. One of Africell’s key contributions throughout AFCON 2022 is to make matches accessible, keeping people connected and ensuring that supporters at home can experience the same thrills and emotions as those sitting in the stands.
Lamin Kaba Bajo, President of the Gambian Football Federation, explains why Africell’s support is valuable.
“The Gambia is competing at AFCON for the first time. Our entire organisation is raising its game to meet the challenge – not only on the field, in terms of players’ performances, but also off it, in terms of the background work needed to create a winning environment. We are delighted to be supported by Africell because, in addition to being an enthusiastic supporter of the Gambia Scorpions, the company is an experienced international operator whose resources and expertise are helping to make our journey smoother and giving our players the confidence to focus fully on the games”.
“Africell’s support is a boost both financially and in terms of the coverage we receive” says Mohamed Benson Bawoh, Corporate Affairs Director for the Sierra Leone Football Federation. “The synergies between our organisations have propelled us to where we are today and we expect the partnership with Africell at AFCON 2022 (and beyond) to help us continue in the right direction and keep putting the smiles on faces.”
“Football inspires great passion in all our operating markets”, says Sam Williams, Africell Group’s Communications Director. “We are proud and excited to be partnering with the Sierra Leone and Gambia football federations at AFCON 2022, offering our resources to help the players and management teams do what they need to do to bring home the ultimate prize. A Stars vs Scorpions final would be a juicy prospect from Africell’s point of view, and we wish both teams the very best of luck as they progress through the tournament”.
Group-stage fixtures for Sierra Leone and Gambia occur throughout January, with all games held in either Yaoundé or Douala, Cameroon. The AFCON 2022 final will take place on 6 February 2022 in Yaoundé.
Sierra Leone fixtures
Vs Algeria – 13:00, 11 Jan
Vs Ivory Coast – 16:00, 16 Jan
Vs Equatorial Guinea – 16:00, 20 Jan
The Gambia fixtures
Vs Mauritania – 16:00, 12 Jan
Vs Mali – 13:00, 16 Jan
Vs Tunisia – 19:00, 20 Jan
*(All UK times)