CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

Africa: Exclusive: CHAN Miss-Out Leaves Sour Taste

Nairobi — Soccer followers, disappointed by the country missing out on yet another major continental event, urged the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) to begin preparations for next year's Africa Cup of Nations.

The calls come ahead of the African Nations Championship in South Africa.

The tournament, where only locally-based footballers participate, resumes on January 11 with Kenya conspicuous with their absence.

A total of 16 countries namely Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon, Congo DR, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique will participate.

"For a country like Kenya to miss out on CHAN 2014 while countries such as Burundi and Uganda, which are ranked lower, go to South Africa to represent East Africa is painful.

"While I wish both Burundi and Uganda well for the tournament, I urge the local soccer federation to amend its errors before 2015," Morgan Mbandi said.

Rudolf Ngugi said Burundi and Uganda deserved to be representatives of East Africa at the expense of Kenya as they made adequate preparations.

"Burundi and Uganda qualified by merit, but Kenya fumbled the preparations. We won the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) in December, and it would have been better to round up with a CHAN final in South Africa," Ngugi said.

Mildred Wanyonyi said KFF should ensure that Kenya football clubs participating at the Africa Club competitions were at their best to avoid another embarrassment.

"We have done very well in athletics and rugby, but it is in soccer where Kenya must challenge the so-called soccer power-houses of African football. We cannot keep rebuilding the national team forever.

"We need to consolidate the victories that we recorded at the just ended CECAFA so that Kenya also becomes a force to reckon with in East Africa," Wanyonyi said.

While they have dominated the CECAFA Cup, winning it six times, Kenya are perennial underachievers in the continent.

They last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nation in 2004 but did not go beyond the first round.

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