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Kenyan solace: No CHAN but CECAFA awards 12-team Challenge Cup hosting rights

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October 2 – Kenya has received some consolation for losing the hosting of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) by being awarded the sub-regional CECAFA 2017 Senior Challenge Cup.

Originally scheduled to be co-hosted between Ethiopia and Burundi, the 12-team tournament will now shift to November/December in Kenya.

Kenya had its hosting of the 2018 CHAN championships stripped from it by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after an inspections visit ruled that only one of the four stadia was ready to host matches.

Kenya maintained that they would have been ready on time. The Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega – the home of Kenyan Premier League team Western Stima – is one of the stadia undergoing renovation, and local government officials say it will be ready for use in two months time. CECAFA, with a much shorter timeline for its tournament that CAF, is putting far more trust in the Kenyan ability to deliver the tournament. Though, politically Kenya has significantly more influence at CECAFA than it does at CAF under the new FIFA-driven political regime.

Following a meeting last week CECAFA secretary general Nicholas Musonye said: “The members expressed solidarity with Kenya over the failure to host the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) but assured Kenyans they will encourage Kenya to host the Challenge Cup in November and early December.”

There was a warning over the political stability in the country from CECAFA president Mutasim Gafar, who said the two-week tournament could only be staged in Kenya if the safety of teams could be guaranteed following the re-run of elections in October.

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