Kenya’s CHAN 2018 hosting rights may be withdrawn according to a recent press release by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The Confederation is expressing concern over Kenya’s preparations for the tournament which will kick-off in January 2018.
Morocco has been called upon to act as an emergency host if Kenya fails to complete preparations in time.
This could be a repetition of what befell the country in 1996 when Kenya lost the hosting rights of the Africa Cup of Nations to South Africa due to shoddy preparations as the Bafana Bafana went on to win the competition that year.
CAF made the decision following Morocco Football Federation’s declaration that they have support from their country’s government and are ready to host the tournament in place of Kenya.
This will be a huge blow to Kenya whose Vice President William Ruto met with CAF President Issa Hayatou in August 2016 as he concluded his two-day tour of the country ahead of the competition.
Kenya’s hosting of the 2018 tournament has been in doubt for some time according to multiple sources. It is said that the government’s laxity to put required infrastructure in place is the cause although other reports indicate that some of the stadiums proposed to host the tournament have been closed for renovations.
Senior officials from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have described Kenya’s interest in hosting CHAN 2018 as a “big joke” due to lack of preparedness seen in the Football Kenya Federation.
Subsequently, CAF’s high-powered delegation – CHAN 2018 organizing committee – is expected in the Nairobi later this month to inspect facilities between February 20 and 24 to enable CAF to take their final decision.
Ethiopia is also being considered as an alternative should Kenya fail to make the feat.
CAF Vice President Kabele Camara and Secretary General Hicham Amrani, are said to be part of the high-profile delegation expected to be in the country for the inspection.
During their visit to the country last year, Secretary General Hicham Amrani was quoted in the media saying that it was only Kasarani Stadium which was ready.
”Kenya needs four standard venues to host Chan and after our inspection, it is only Kasarani that meets the requirements. The rest of the venues are not in good condition and need much work if they are to host the matches.”
The Africa Nations Championships is Africa’s second largest sporting event. It consists 16 national teams, whose players specifically play in their home leagues.