23 September 2017

Kenya Loses CHAN Hosting Rights as CAF Decides

Photo: Daily News
A soccer ball in the net (file photo).

After weeks of speculation and anxiety, Kenya has finally been stripped of the rights to host the African Nations Championship scheduled for January next year.

This decision was made public late Saturday after an executive committee meeting held at the Tang Palace hotel in Accra, Ghana where the hosting rights for the 16-nation tournament was the third item of discussion in the agenda.

The verdict was issued in the presence of Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa, Sports Permanent Secretary Kirimi Kaberia and Event Director Herbert Mwachiro who had travelled to Ghana ahead of the make-or-break meeting.

The Kenyan delegation had put together a 33-slide PowerPoint presentation which Mwendwa and Kaberia presented to the Executive Committee as a last ditch effort to convince them to retain their faith in Kenya.

The African football chiefs however expressed great concern with the security situation in the country with regards to the Supreme Court's decision to annul the August 8 Presidential elections and the uncertainty surrounding the repeat poll, as well as the slow pace of construction in the four stadia earmarked to host the tournament.

"It is now in Caf's hands. We have done our best," Mwendwa said shortly after making his presentation and pleading for more time to comply with the laid down timelines.

This is the second time that Kenya has lost the hosting rights of a tournament they successfully bidded for after 1996 when the hosting rights for the Africa Cup of Nations were taken away and handed to South Africa.

Morocco, Ethiopia and Cote d'Ivoire had already expressed serious interest in hosting the Chan tournament, but Caf president Ahmad Ahmad and the executive committee have now opened its doors for willing countries to make fresh applications within the next ten days.

The decision is set to send a shockwave among the countries top administrators, including Mwendwa who made the bold declaration upon assuming office last year that he would resign of Kenya would lose out on the chance to host this competition.

The qualification process for the tournament has already ended, with 15 nations having qualified so far.

Congo, Libya, Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Namibia have all qualified for the tournament that is scheduled to take place between January 11 and February 2.


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