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Cabinet approves Kenya’s hopeful bid to co-host 2027 AFCON

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CS Ababu Namwamba addressing a press conference with FKF Officials
  • Kenya wants to co-host the 2027 AFCON alongside other EAC states
  • Kenya was awarded to host the 1996 AFCON
  • Kenya has just recently come off a FIFA suspension

The cabinet has approved Kenya’s ambition to bid for the hosting of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) alongside other East Africa Community States. The idea had been initially mooted by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria and now, Cabinet has embraced the idea.

In a dispatch from Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, the government says it will be invested to help the revitalization of the national teams and invest more in the game.

“In a bid to revive the prospects of Kenyan football, Cabinet sanctioned the revitalization of football as a key cog of our nation’s social fabric. This national effort will encompass the rebuilding of the national men’s team, the Harambee Stars, and the rebuilding of the women’s national team, the Harambee Starlets,” a dispatch from State House read.

It added; “As a stepping stone towards the target of Harambee Stars qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in the year 2030, Cabinet approved the proposal to host the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2027, alongside EAC partner states. Cabinet noted that the joint bid would deploy the power of sports in furthering regional integration.”

Hosting of 1996 AFCON

Kenya has previously been handed the rights to host the Cup of Nations in 1996, but was later stripped off the hosting rights because of ill preparedness. They were then barred from competing at the qualifiers for the next Cup of Nations.

The tournament was then taken to South Africa, who won their one and only AFCON title.

In 2018, Kenya was awarded the rights to host the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) and once again, the hosting rights were stripped a few months to the tournament as none of the facilities earmarked were projected to be ready by the time the tournament was set to start.

Morocco was then given the hosting rights, and they ended up winning the tournament.

While Kenya has successfully hosted junior global athletics event without much fuss, football is a different ballgame all together. Kenya had also bid to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships but wasn’t successful as the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani was deemed not good enough.

Minimum standards

Hosting the Cup of Nations has minimum requirements set by CAF. While Kenya might tick the boxes of infrastructure, reliable internet and world class hotels, where the bid will face problems is the lack of an international standard stadium.

With the AFCON expanded to 24 teams of six pools, six stadia, well equipped are required as a bare minimum. Also required are training grounds with the same quality of playing surface and with changing rooms

An AFCON host stadium is required to have at least four changing rooms, four referee rooms, a well-equipped medical room a press centre and a press box.

Currently, Kenya cannot host any international match as the two biggest stadia, Nyayo and Kasarani do not meet CAF requirements.

Just recently, new Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba visited the Kinoru Stadium in Meru and expressed disappointment in the work done, despite gobbling Sh1bn in public funds.

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