21 March 2018

Kenya/Ghana: Harambee Stars Now Risk 'Hosting' Ghana on Foreign Soil

There is a high likelihood that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group F qualifier pitting Harambee Stars against Ghana scheduled for September 7 could be played on foreign land.

This is due to the unavailability of both Nyayo Stadium and Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani which have been undergoing renovations for the last few months.

The two are the only stadiums approved by Confederation of African Football (Caf) to host such a competitive match.

The contractor at Kasarani had been tasked with uplifting the playing surface before the start of the 2018 football season to meet modern standards.

The works have currently stalled and there are now fears that the facility may not be ready by April as earlier promised by the Sports Ministry Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia.

It takes at least four months to have the laid grass ready for use. The Tanzania's Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar es Salaam was for instance closed down five months to lay imported grass before hosting the Gor Mahia versus Everton match on July 13, 2017.

CHANGE OF VENUE

With time fast running out, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) may be forced to seek a new venue within required radius, that's either Tanzania or Nelson Mandela Stadium in Namboole, Uganda.

The two pitches are less than two-hours apart from Nairobi, the maximum time required by Caf for visiting teams to access match venues. A flight to Dar takes two hours while its takes 45 minutes to reach Entebbe International Airport.

This means the Black Stars of Ghana can pitch camp in Nairobi and travel to the match venue two or three days before match day.

However, FKF president Nick Mwendwa is hopeful that the stadiums will be ready by September.

"There has been no change in venue of the Kenya, Ghana match. We are waiting for the stadiums to be ready and we are pushing everyday that it is done on time," Mwendwa told Nation Sport on Wednesday.

Stars are currently in Morocco ahead of two international friendly matches against Comoros and Central African Republic slated for March 24 and March 27.

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