• By bassey
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    Feb 08, 2017
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    AFCON trophy

    The Confederation of African Football says it will take greater control over pitches at Africa Cup of Nations to avoid poor playing surfaces.

    The pitches at this year's finals in Gabon came in for heavy criticism, with the state of the turf in Port Gentil blamed by then-Ghana coach Avram Grant as responsible for causing injuries to players

    "That is a lesson for us to make sure we have better control of better management in future," Caf secretary general Hicham El Amrani told BBC Sport.

    "We are taking it very seriously.

    "One way to do things is to be in touch with the Local Organising Committee way in advance, even before a pitch has been laid, and to provide them with our knowledge in terms of selection of suppliers.

    "Of course we would have been happier if certain things had been better managed - and I'm not going to go back on the everlasting issue of the pitch in Port-Gentil.

    "But overall we are very happy with the tournament and we congratulate the host nation for their tremendous efforts."

    Gabon was chosen at short notice to stage the finals in April 2015, after the tournament was removed from original hosts Libya the previous year because of civil conflict in the country.

    El Amrani says that talks have already started about preparing the pitches for the 2019 Nations Cup in Cameroon, whose team won this year's finals.

    Having staged the Women's Africa Cup of Nations last year, some pitches have already been in laid - which is in contrast to the turf in the new Gabonese stadiums of both Oyem and Port-Gentil.

    "We just need to make sure we keep offering the best conditions but obviously taking into account the environment in which we operate," he added.

    "From a football perspective, we are also very happy. We saw beautiful games."

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