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CAF strips Kenya of CHAN hosting rights

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Sports Principle Secretary Peter Kaberia (left) and FKF boss Nick Mwendwa (right) chat with CAF Second Vice President Constant Omari during his visit to Kenya in June.Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has officially stripped Kenya of the rights to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) after an Executive Committee meeting in Accra, Ghana on Saturday evening.

Addressing the press in Accra on Saturday evening after an afternoon-long meeting, CAF through President Ahmad Ahmad said that the current political situation in the country was not found conducive for the games.

Also, the latest inspection team that concluded its tour of duty in the country last week found most of the venues way from complete and it was argued they would not be ready by the time the three-week championship begins on January 11.

This comes just a few days after the cabinet approved a Sh4.2bn towards preparing venues for the biennial championship.

“With an overwhelming majority of the members present, it was decided to withdraw the hosting rights of the competition from Kenya in the light of accumulated delays from reports of the various inspection missions conducted in the country, the last of which took place from 11 to 17 September 2017,” CAF said in a statement.

FKF boss Nick Mwendwa (right) with CAF Second Vice President Constant Omari during his visit to Kenya in June.Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

This is the second time that CAF is stripping Kenya of the rights to host a continental showpiece. In 1996, Kenya was set to host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) but the same was stripped away and handed to South Africa.

CAF is set to open up a fresh bidding process for the 2018 championship on Sunday, inspect the country’s facilities over the next 10 days and a new host announced in 15 days time. South Africa and Morocco had been touted as possible replacements should Kenya fail to host.

The latest development is a blow to Kenyan football fans who had hoped to welcome 16 African teams to the country next year in a tournament seen as a second tier African Cup of Nations.

It is a smack in the face for the government having taken a massive two years before any meaningful work began with Kenya having won rights to host the tournament in 2015. The country was officially handed over the mantle last year in Rwanda.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario was present in Kigali alongside former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Sam Nyamweya and Wario promised that ‘immediately’ his ministry would undertake in preparing venues for the championship.

The ministry only awarded tenders to contractors at the beginning of August with work starting early this month, five months to the championship.

The latest inspection team from CAF was far from impressed with the progress of work with Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino and Kinoru in Meru needed an almost complete overhaul and they were convinced that they would not be complete in time.

The sports ministry and FKF officials were confident that CAF would give Kenya the benefit of doubt to hasten works on the process.

Sports Principle Secretary Kirimi Kaberia, FKF president Nick Mwendwa and the CHAN tournament director and Deputy CEO of the Local Organizing Committee Herbart Mwachiro were present in Accra.

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