To host Afcon 2027, Kenya will also need to plough millions into upgrading and possibly building new facilities including stadiums, training facilities, transport and accommodation.
To host Afcon 2027, Kenya will also need to plough millions into upgrading and possibly building new facilities including stadiums, training facilities, transport and accommodation.

One of the biggest assignments for new Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba will be crafting Kenya’s 2027 bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) alongside neighbours Uganda and Tanzania, it has emerged. Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot on Thursday, October 27 confirmed that the bid was one of President William Ruto’s key plans for the sports sector.

It will be a major challenge, considering Kenyan football’s current dire state. The country has since March been suspended by world football governing body FIFA, thanks to incessant management wrangles pitting ousted federation officials, government officials and clubs against each other. This, coupled with the exit of broadcasters and sponsors, has led to a general sense of despondency among the football fraternity – with clubs and players struggling financially and fans lacking the entertainment they crave in the stadiums. Even the current Kenya Premier League (KPL) season is yet to kick off with clubs concerned about starting under the current circumstances.

The last time Kenya won the rights to host a major continental football tournament, the country was in 2020 strípped of the rights to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) over the slow pace of preparations.

It is hoped that the entry of Namwamba as the new CS, taking over from Amina Mohammed, will lead to a quick resolution for Kenya’s FIFA status to be restored, allowing the country’s teams to participate in international competitions including Afcon. To host Afcon 2027, Kenya will also need to plough millions into upgrading and possibly building new facilities including stadiums, training facilities, transport infrastructure and accommodation.

Nairobi’s Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums – Kenya’s most prominent sports facilities – were both banned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in October 2021 after they failed to pass inspection of the required standards for staging international matches.

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Cheruiyot disclosed that they would push for a budgetary allocation for the renovations and upgrades of facilities ahead of the bid, stating: “Part of President William Ruto’s administration plan is to co-host the 2027 Afcon. Personally I have talked to the President about this and I’ve pressed on him, the need to ensure that once the CS comes into office, he receives the necessary budget allocation to first of all get our stadiums (Nyayo, Kasarani, City and the six regional stadiums that we have been putting up together) up to the international level where we can be able to compete.”

“As we speak today, Harambee Stars doesn’t have a field to play in because both Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums are banned. It’s just over little adjustments; lights that are not working, security gates and water that’s not present in the stadium. I believe with a small budgetary allocation from the Sports Fund, we should be able to spruce up both stadiums,” Cheruiyot told Standard.

“I expect that we as a country, if we put our act together, then we should be able to join the rest of the East African community (Tanzania and Uganda) in bidding for the 2027 Afcon. I believe this is an achievable target only if we get our act together.”

The j***t bid with Uganda and Tanzania would also bode well for Ruto’s plans for enhanced regional integration. The President has repeatedly emphasized his desire to foster closer trade ties with countries in East Africa and Africa, even throwing his weight behind the proposed formation of the East African Federation.

Tasking Namwamba with making sure Kenya is in a position to host the games, Cheruiyot stated: “Then by 2025 when we do the bidding for Afcon 2027, we will be able to give a good account of ourselves. This is the time for the East African region to host the tournament, we should not let that opportunity pass. Otherwise, if we don’t prepare ourselves well, Tanzania and Uganda will grab this opportunity yet everybody knows across Africa that when it’s a turn for East Africa, then the anchor host should be Kenya. Save for the most important thing which is the stadium, we have all the necessary facilities.

“Therefore, over to you CS Ababu, put things in order, return football back to the fans and also ensure we have good stadiums beginning with Nyayo and Kasarani.”

Kenya will have to fight off competition from Botswana and Namibia who also announced a j***t bid for rights to host the 2027 Afcon.

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