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Government reiterates support for 2027 AFCON bid

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Sports CS Ababu Namwamba with FKF boss Nick Mwendwa.
  • A CAF team was in the country to inspect progress
  • Kenya has bid to host the 2027 AFCON with Uganda and Tanzania
  • Kenya has twice missed hosting a CAF tournament

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has reiterated the Kenyan government’s support towards East Africa’s joint bid for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

The CS spoke while welcoming an inspection team from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which is in the country on an initial fact-finding mission to asses Kenya’s preparedness for the tournament.

They began inspecting MISC Kasarani, Kasarani Annex, Nyayo Stadium, Ulinzi Sports Complex, and Kenyatta Hospital.

Afterward, they headed to Eldoret,  to continue the inspection process at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Stadium 64, University of Eldoret, Eldoret Referral Hospital, Eldoret Airport, and later on, JKIA Airport.

After the inspection of Kasarani Stadium, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba emphasized the need of having international level sporting facilities as a sporting nation.

“We are doing this because Kenya is a sporting nation, and we need to have international-level sporting facilities. We are focused in our stadia development program. The work we have started here is work we should have started many years ago” opined CS Namwamba.

Competing with big nations 

FKF President Nick Mwendwa insisted on how the country needs to be ready for the joint bid by East Africa sporting powerhouses Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

“We are competing with big nations like Algeria, Senegal, Botswana, and Nigeria. We have to be ready to host the tournament.”

Kenya together with Uganda, and Tanzania had earlier this year submitted a joint bid dubbed “East Africa Pamoja” to CAF to be given a chance to host the 2027 Cup of Nations.

Out of the three East Africa Nations, only Tanzania has ever hosted a continental tournament before, as they had the U17 Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.

Kenya has had two previous chances to host a major tournament. In 1996, the country had won the bid for the AFCON, but due to a mix of politics and ill preparedness, the tournament was taken to South Africa, who went on to win it.

In 2018, Kenya had won the bid to host the Africa Nations Championship, but a lack of preparedness with the venues saw CAF make the decision to snatch the tourney away and award to Morocco.

But what does it take to host the AFCON?

With the tournament expanded to 24 teams, CAF willk require six stadia for any host to host four teams each. With Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania bidding as one, then they might each produce two stadia for the tournament.

According to CAF requirements, artificial pitches cannot be used in the AFCON, which is categorized as the highest level of competition, Each stadium must have fixed seating, and the pitch must be of international standard.

Also, the stadium must have at least four changing rooms for players and two for referees to cater for double headers. There must also be a fully equipped media centre and media tribune at every stadium.

The floodlights must also be of a particular quality and all must be passed fit by CAF.

There must also be easy access for fans and the stadium must have all necessary amenities to ensure comfort.

Apart from the stadia, the transport network, internet connectivity, hospital and hotels must be of top notch status.

Where are we as a bid?

Kenya currently does not have a stadium that is passed by CAF as fit to host any international match. Both Nyayo and Kasarani Stadia are below the CAF required standards as they lack many amenities necessary to host an international stadium.

The same applies to Uganda, whose inter-club and national team matches have been played at the Kitende Stadium, which is a synthetic pitch.

Tanzania is the only East African country with a CAF approved pitch, the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

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