Kenya desperately cling on to 2018 CHAN hosting with CAF decision looming

September 20 – Kenya looks likely to be stripped of its hosting rights to CHAN 2018 at an African Football Confederation (CAF) executive meeting on Saturday following a final inspection of the proposed venues last weekend.

The final decision on hosting is scheduled to be taken at CAF’s meeting in Accra, Ghana, on September 23, with Morocco or South Africa the countries most likely to take over the hosting of the tournament

The basis for CAF’s decision will be the report of the seven-member CAF team, which conducted an inspection of four Kenyan stadiums and which will inevitably conclude that at least one of the stadiums is far from ready to host the tournament and that, despite some progress in recent days, it is uncertain that they will be ready in time.

Of the four stadiums inspected, only Kasarani stadium (which hosts the FKF offices) is believed to meet hosting requirements whilst two venues, Nairobi’s Nyayo National stadium and Moi Kinoru stadium in Meru need more work done. Kipchoge Keino stadium in Eldoret needs substantial works, which have only begun recently, to be completed with doubts over whether it is physically possible. A back-up stadium in Machakos was not inspected as considerable work is still required for completion.

Kenya was awarded the hosting rights in 2014 and current Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Nick Mwendwa admitted there has been slow progress in the construction but maintained that the country would be ready blaming the situation on the “slow pace” at which government support had been provided, but arguing that when the government are committed they do move fast.

On the other hand, former FKF president Sam Nyamweya , who was replaced by Mwendwa in February 2016 after facing corruption allegations, told local media a “miracle” would be required for Kenya to host the tournament, saying: “They (FKF) cannot blame the Government for that. The federation run football and they should give their programme to the Government in advance. They should have started pushing for this last year and rushed the Government.”

Losing the hosting rights to the tournament is likely to dampen Kenya’s chances of hosting future CAF or FIFA tournaments for many years to come, whether or not the various stadium construction projects around the country come to fruition.

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