By Mark Baber
June 18 – After a week of inspections of stadia CAF have given Kenya more time to make progress, whilst assuring that a Plan B is in place for hosting of the CHAN tournament in January 2018, in case “there are some problems.”
At the end of the inspection visit CAF Second Vice president Constant Omari Selemani expressed confidence that Kenya could still meet its hosting obligations, comparing the situation to 10,000m races he had seen on TV, in which Kenyan runners would often lag behind the pack, before surging ahead towards the end of the race and winning.
“I think that,” he said, “I can’t give you the percent, but according to what I saw, on the TV, I’m sure they will be able to do it.”
“The main objective is to organise in Kenya. In case there are some problems, CAF must be ready to transpose this competition anywhere,” he added.
“We have been given a guarantee that Kenya will correct the situation, and at the end of August we will be able to know exactly where we stand and how much per cent of the work has been done before we decide the way forward.”
According to Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa, “Kasarani (Nairobi) and Kinoru (Meru) stadiums have done well although they are not ready. That said, we got serious issues with the Kenyatta (Machakos), Nyayo (Nairobi) and Kip-Keino (Eldoret) Stadiums.”
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario admitted the government funds had been delayed owing to logistical reasons, but admitted that: “We are not moving at the pace expected of us but there have a lot of things have been happening behind the scenes. We were looking for the money, setting up the contracts and visiting the sites.”
“All that have come together and now we are moving to the next phase, which is awarding the contracts and ensuring that people work day and night. Let me not lie to you, we have a lot of work to do. But we are up to it and are promising CAF that we reached the target.
“Kenya really wants to host this tournament because football is loved by Kenyans. What we are awaiting is our financial year budgets which should be in place by next month. If you (CAF) come back by November, then you will find us almost ready.”
CAF will in fact be coming back at the end of August and will be assessing progress, since, if we return to the 10,000m analogy, the Kenyan’s haven’t crossed the starting line in preparations for some of the stadia, with the tendering process initiated by Sport Kenya for basic infrastructure work and seating open until the end of this month.
If Kenya fails to meet its obligations Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire are reportedly ready to host the tournament, and the country will of course face sanctions which could include a fine and ban from the competition for up to four years.
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