What you need to know:
- Namwamba said that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania having put a “solid, robust, comprehensive and well-thought” plan in the “Pamoja” bid and he would be disappointed if the three neighbouring countries are denied the hosting rights for the 36th edition of Cup of Nations.
All the facilities that Kenya presented in the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), East African Commission (EAC) “Pamoja” bid should be ready for use by 2025, Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba has said.
Namwamba said that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania having put a “solid, robust, comprehensive and well-thought” plan in the “Pamoja” bid and he would be disappointed if the three neighbouring countries are denied the hosting rights for the 36th edition of Cup of Nations.
The CS spoke on Wednesday at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani after meeting with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officials and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) inspection team.
The meeting was also attended by delegations from Tanzania and Uganda.
The Caf team is in Kenya to inspect the facilities that the country presented in the bid to co-host the 2027 Afcon with Uganda and Tanzania.
They will complete their visit to Kenya on Thursday and then depart for Uganda where they will also conduct a two-day inspection.
“We expect that by 2025, we should be in a place where most of the targets we have set will be complete,” said Namwamba.
The Caf team did not address the press.
Botswana, Algeria, Egypt and Senegal are the other countries that bid to host the 2027 Afcon.
As match venues, Kenya presented the iconic 60,000-seater (MISC), 30,000-seater Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret.
The training grounds included MISC Kasarani Annex, Police Sacco Stadium, Kenya Utalii College Sport Club, Ulinzi Sports Complex and Jamhuri Sports Complex, 64 Stadium and University of Eldoret (UoE) grounds.
On Wednesday, the Caf officials assessed MISC, Nyayo National Stadium and Ulinzi Sports Complex.
They are on Thursday expected to visit Kipchoge Keino Stadium, 64 Stadium, UoE grounds, Eldoret University Hospital and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Caf requires that any venue hosting an Afcon match be near an airport, level four or five hospital and a four or five star hotel.
Namwamba said that during the meeting, they explained to the Caf officials how the government intends to refurbish the facilities to the standards set by continental football governing body and Fifa.
This included presenting them with the architectural plans of the work to be done on the facilities.
In terms of the budget, he said that they assured the team from the continental football governing body that the government is committed to the work and that the refurbishment of the stadiums will start immediately tendering process is complete.
Last week, the government through Sports Kenya invited tenders for the upgrading of MISC, Nyayo National Stadium and Kipchoge Keino Stadium to Fifa standards. Currently, there is no stadium in the country that is approved by both Fifa and CAF.
CAF had in October 2021 banned both Nyayo and MISC from hosting its matches after they failed to meet several set standards including functioning floodlights, media centre and a world class VVIP area.
“If the award (of the rights to host Afcon 2027) was to be based on plan alone, I believe we have a fantastic one,” said the CS, adding that the inspection in Uganda and Tanzania will also include a Kenyan delegation.
He said that he also asked the Caf officials to exercise equity when it comes to the awarding of rights to host its events.
“We have emphasised to the Caf team that besides the infrastructure, and technical capabilities of the various hosting countries, Caf must also demonstrate equity in the distribution of events across the continent so that it can help the continent grow in football in the continent,” he said.
The East Africa region has never hosted the Cup of Nations.