NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6- Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Hassan Wario insists Kenya will be ready to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) despite the growing fear that the country might not be able to complete its infrastructure in time for the biennial tournament.
Last week, CAF Vice President Almamy Kabele Camara who chairs the CHAN Organizing Committee at CAF level and Secretary General Hicham El Amrani were in the country on a preliminary inspection tour and only two of the required four facilities met the requirements.
While Wario admits a lot needs to be done between now and September 2017, he has assured Kenyans the tournament will come home.
“We know that not all our stadia are up to scratch but definitely I am certain we will be ready for CHAN. It is still far and there’s a lot of time to improve the existing facilities,” Wario told Capital Sport.
“CAF did not say all our facilities were ready, but they were categorical about some of them. I am also having an issue with the Moi Kisumu Stadium. There is no way you can have a dump site next to a stadium and expect to host an international tournament. The County Government of Kisumu should put its act together,” he added.
Wario has disclosed that work at the Mombasa Stadium has already started and the tartan track which should be laid down at the stadium has arrived in the country.
Sh500 million has been allocated to the rehabilitation of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret which is also seen as a potential host for the championship.
The Cabinet Secretary hinted that some of the stadia might need a complete overhaul due to lack of structures.
“Some of our stadia were not measured properly and we need to rethink them. In some cases it’s better to build a new one. Like Kisumu, it is in the wrong place for starters. We are meeting next week where we will know the composition of the Local Organizing Committee which will give us the budget. It might go into several billions,” Wario offered.
Neighbours Rwanda hosted the last edition with CAF describing it as one of the best organised tournaments.
With Kenya hosting the IAAF World Youth Athletics Championships next year, the ministry is faced with a huge budgetary headache with both tournaments requiring huge financial investments.
However, Wario was quick to reassure that from the Sh1billion allocated by the government for the World Youth games, most will go towards rehabilitation of stadia with an eye on the CHAN games.
“We have talked to the counties and we’ve asked them to add in some money as well because most of these facilities will be co-shared and it will be for their benefit as well,” Wario said.