Africa Nations Cup: Doubts grow louder over Kenya’s ability to host football event
Fears grow Caf will strip Kenya of hosting rights, but ex-FKF boss calls on Head of State to save situation.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been urged to intervene to save Kenya from losing rights to host Africa’s second premier football event, the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).
This follows the decision by the continental football body, Caf, to call off an inspection tour of Kenya and instead sent Democratic Republic of Congo’s FA president Constant Omari Selemani to ‘assess the political and security situation of the country’.
With Caf set for an Executive Committee meeting in Ghana in three weeks, former Football Kenya Federation President Sam Nyamweya said assessing the political situation in Kenya is a perfect excuse to take the rights away, given the country’s poor football infrastructure.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta should intervene just to re-assure Caf and Africa that we can host the event,” said Nyamweya, who during his term, Kenya was awarded the hosting rights.
Renovations and upgrading of designated stadia are all behind schedule raising the spectre of another miss, which is reminiscent of the 1996 failure to host the Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite the slow pace, Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has variously given assurances the Government will ensure Kenya is ready to host the event.
“The truth is that we have a lot to do, but we have been working hard to put everything in motion. There is goodwill about Kenya hosting this tournament from the highest level of government,” Wario told Standard Sports recently.
“I am deeply concerned that Caf has indefinitely cancelled the itinerary to conduct the final inspection of our preparedness later this week,” Nyamweya said, while also calling on his successor, Nick Mwendwa, to be bipartisan in his approach.
“It is obvious the matter of CHAN 2018 will top Caf agenda in Ghana, given we are yet to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that we have the most important infrastructure ready – stadiums.”
He added: “It took us nearly 20 years to have this chance. Another failure would lead to far-reaching sanctions, which may include being blacklisted in case we bid to host Caf events in future.”
“To my successor at FKF and the Local Organizing Committee, it is time to bring on board all individuals or institutions save hosting rights,” Nyamweya said.