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CAF raises concern over Kenya’s preparedness for CHAN

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Representatives from CAF take a group photo with Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and FKF boss Nick Mwendwa at the end of CAF’s five day inspection tour on June 17 ahead of CHAN 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will on August 28 make its final decision whether hosting rights for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) will remain with Kenya, when they send a team for another round of inspection.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa has admitted he was put to task by the continental body during the Extra-Ordinary Congress in Morocco last week, saying they were concerned that no meaningful progress has been made in preparing the venues.

CAF will now decide if Kenya remains as the host nation when they make another inspection tour, just two months after the last visit led by Vice President Constant Omari.

“I can tell you that I went to CAF and they are unhappy with our state of readiness for CHAN and they have not made it a secret. I got ‘fried’ in a meeting with the CAF executive that Kenya is not ready and we are wasting their time,” Mwendwa told Capital Sport.

He added; “We have a final chance on August 28. The inspection team will go to all the venues and they have made it clear that they don’t want stories. They want to find contractors working. If they are not working, they have said I should not even bother telling them to come.”

The CAF team led by Omari was in Kenya mid-last month where they inspected all the facilities. This was the third time a delegation from the continental body was in the country.

Though they were pleased with most of the facilities in terms of hotels and training venues, the CAF team was hugely disappointed with the match day venues as none, except the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani and by a small margin Meru’s Kinoru had reached required standards.

However, Omari, speaking just after a meeting with government and federation officials said he was confident the government will keep its promise of availing funds for progress to go on.

CAF vice president Constant Omari addresses the press at the end of CAF’s five day inspection tour on June 17 ahead of CHAN 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“CAF believes in the Kenyan Government. If we didn’t believe in them, we wouldn’t have given them this competition. We see what they are doing, we have had meetings and engagement with government and we believe,” Omari said.

But they seem to have taken a stern stand with the days ticking and have threatened to find a Plan B if they are not convinced by what they will find on August 28. Already, Morocco, who hosted the CAF Congress and Ethiopia are touted as possible replacements.

Mwendwa has now thrown the ball into the government’s court expressing reservations that the procurement process is not going as fast as it should.

“We can’t talk anymore; we have to award tenders this week.  If it is not done, I will just have to write to CAF and thank them for opportunity to host and that’s it,” Mwendwa noted.

However, he remains positive that the progress will build up, basing his positivity on Equatorial Guinea’s ability to organize the African Cup of Nations in less than two months in 2014. He also disclosed that a total budget of Sh7bn is needed for the biennial showpiece reserved for local based players.

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa when he was a guest at the Capital FM studios on July 22. PHOTO/ Timothy Olobulu

For the championship, CAF needs four stadia each with its own standard training ground. Each stadium has to have specialized lighting systems for live TV coverage, at least four changing rooms, a well mapped out media tribune, referees’ room and an Anti-Doping room.

Currently, only Kasarani Stadium fits the bill with most of that work having been taken care of as preparations were made for the hosting of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships last week.

Other venues which have been earmarked to host the championship include the Kinoru Stadium in Meru. The facility has been given a facelift by the County Government of Meru though not every piece of work has been complete.

The opening of the Isiolo International Airport on Sunday by President Uhuru Kenyatta placed the stadium as a very suitable host town.

Others are the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret and the Nyayo National Stadium which need considerable amount of work for them to tick all the right boxes.

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