Kenya/Burundi: Where Will Kenya Host Ivory Coast, Burundi in World Cup Qualifiers?

Nairobi — Kenya is faced with the possibility of hosting African champions Ivory Coast and neighbors Burundi outside the country, if renovation works at the Nyayo National Stadium will not be complete by June, when the next two rounds of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers will be played.

The Nyayo National Stadium, which is the only FIFA approved stadium in the country, will be closed down for renovations from April 22 for an undisclosed timeline.

The Ministry of Sports says major works will be done on the facility, which is earmarked as one of the probable hosts of the 2024 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) as well as an alternate ground for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

With the Moi Stadium Kasarani already closed down for similar works which are scheduled to be done by the end of the year, Kenya stares at the possibility of moving the two mega World Cup qualifiers in foreign soil.

Government in consultations

"The Government of Kenya, through our Ministry and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), is in consultation with CAF and FIFA regarding the venue for Harambee Stars' next World Cup qualifier games (match days 3 and 4) scheduled for 3rd and 11th June," a statement from the Ministry of Sports reads.

If Nyayo Stadium will not be complete at least by mid May, then Kenya will need to speak to either Tanzania or Rwanda to move the games there.

This will be a massive dent to an expected home advantage in the two crucial ties, as Kenya keeps the World Cup dream alive.

The Nyayo Stadium had initially planned to close down after Saturday's Kip Keino Classic, the same day that the Mashemeji Derby had been planned for. The derby was moved to Sunday, and penned for Nyayo, due to the risks involved in hosting it.

With the current rains, the country is facing a tough time with match venues, with coaches already complaining about the overused Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

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