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CAF inspection team arrives to check on CHAN progress

CAF President Issa Hayatou (second from right) watches the final of the August 2016 edition of the Kenyan premier League Under-20 Championship alongside FKF President Nick Mwendwa. Also with him was CAF vice president Almamy Kabele Kamara and Secretary General Hicham El Amrani. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19- A high powered Confederation of African Football (CAF) delegation arrived in the country early Sunday morning for a six day inspection tour of the country’s infrastructure and hospitality facilities ahead of next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The team of six is expected to tour four proposed stadia for the competition as well as training facilities, hotels and hospitals which will be used during the three-week biennial championship.

They will start by touring the Nyayo and Kasarani Stadium as well as the proposed training facilities which include the Utalii grounds, Kenya School of Monetary Studies and Barclays Sports Club all along Thika Road, close to Kasarani.

Also to be inspected is the GEMS Cambridge International School on Magadi Road, International School of Kenya, Rosslyn Academy, Brookhouse and Hillcrest schools.

The team will then head to Eldoret on Tuesday where they will inspect the Kipchoge Keino Stadium as well as training, hospitality and medical facilities.

Day three on Wednesday will see the team travel to Machakos where they will undertake a similar process at the Kenyatta Stadium before heading to Meru’s Kinoru Stadium on day four.

The team will then have a review meeting on Friday with the Local Organizing Committee as well as representatives from FKF and the government after which they will meet Deputy President William Ruto who is expected to assure them of the government’s support for the championship.

The LOC had their first meeting on Saturday, chaired by FKF president Nick Mwendwa.

“We discussed a number of issues ranging from our general level of preparedness, what we need to do in terms of improving our infrastructure to the required CAF standards and the upcoming high level CAF inspection scheduled to take place between 20 and 24 February 2017.”

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FKF President Nick Mwendwa handing the ball to Deputy President William Ruto at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium.

“It is vital to point out that the outcome of the inspection will determine further our capability and capacity to successfully host CHAN 2018 in Kenya,”

“As the host nation we want to remove any doubts during the inspection and assure CAF and Africa as a whole that Kenya will be ready in time and successfully host the 2018 CHAN which we believe will dispel any notion that there is need for CAF to seek an alternative host,” Mwendwa said.

There have been growing fears that the country will not be able to host the biennial championship especially due to standard match venues available, but Mwendwa is confident that the country will be ready in time.

Kasarani Stadium will be closed soon for the laying of a tartan track for the upcoming World Youth Championships with the government saying much of the renovation will be done with an eye also cast on next year’s CHAN.

CAF had initially expressed reservations at the level of preparedness, but the visit this week will be the make or break for Kenya which looks to host a CAF national championship for the first time ever.

Kenya had an opportunity to host the African Cup of Nations in 1996, but pulled out of hosting with the tournament heading to South Africa.

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