September 12 – After two postponements in a matter of days, an eight-person delegation from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has finally arrived in Kenya for the final inspection of facilities earmarked to stage the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in January next year.
A CAF delegation which visited Kenya in June and was scheduled to return at the end of August to make a final decision on whether Kenya should be stripped of its hosting rights due to the lack of progress in preparing stadia, decided recently to hold off until September 7.
But the current political instability in Kenya following the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the results of last month’s presidential poll caused another delay and cast doubt over the country’s chances of hosting the 16-team tournament.
CAF vice-president Constant Omari Selemani was in the country last week to assess the country’s political and security situation following the Supreme Court decision that nullified the presidential elections. He subsequently advised CAF it was safe to proceed with the inspection tour.
Selemani is leading the inspection team that will visit training facilities and four stadiums over eight days before issuing a final verdict on Kenya’s readiness to host the tournament for the first time.
“We are on top of things and ready for the inspection. Construction work is going on all around the four stadiums, which should be ready and handed over to the government in a month’s time,” said Herbert Mwachiro, Kenya’s CHAN 2018 chief.
Qualification for the championship, which is only open to footballers playing in their own domestic leagues, was completed in late August. The 16 finalists are Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.
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