Invaluable Afcon lesson

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have a lot to learn from how Cote d’Ivoire has staged a successful 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The 24-team tournament, which concludes today with the final match between host nation Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria at Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, is testament to what countries can achieve with proper planning, coordination, proper resource allocation, and sound leadership.

Although the tournament was moved last year from its original date of between June and July, to January 13 – February 11 so as to avoid disruptions occasioned by rainy season in Cote d’Ivoire, it has been worth the wait.

We commend Cote d’Ivoire for organising one of the most successful and colourful tournaments. Cote d’Ivoire has shown the world that Africa is capable of organising and staging international tournaments in world-class facilities.

The country invested more than Sh154 billion ($1 billion) in roads, stadiums, hospitals and other infrastructure related to the hosting of Africa’s premier national football tournament. They hosted the tournament in six venues spread across five cities. Instructively, all the stadiums were world-class.

On the pitch, the country did not disappoint. Cote d’Ivoire matched this solid investment in infrastructure for the tournament with good results on the pitch, growing from a sluggish start to qualify for today’s final.

Kenya Uganda and Tanzania, which won hosting rights for the 2027 tournament in a joint ‘Pamoja Bid’ on September 27 last year, should learn from Cote d’Ivoire so as to stage a successful competition when the biannual tournament returns to the region for the first time since Ethiopia hosted it in 1976.

Morocco, which will stage 2025 Afcon, has ready facilities.

Locally, time is running out for Kenya in its preparations to co-host 2027 Afcon. Kenya must ready the requisite infrastructure for the tournament to avoid last-minute rush. She must spare citizens embarrassment like the failure to host 1996 Afcon, and 2017 Africa Nations Championships.