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FILE PHOTO: Uganda's Joseph Ochaya (L) fights for the ball with Kenya's Daniel Sakari (R) during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying round Group E football match between Kenya and Uganda at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. /CFP

Kenyan sports minister says country will be ready for 2027 AFCON

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Kenya’s sports secretary Ababa Namwamba assured fans and the football fraternity that the country will be ready to co-host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania jointly beat out bids from Egypt, Senegal, Botswana, and Algeria to host AFCON 27. Algeria, however, pulled out of the race just days before the official announcement.

According to Namwamba, Kenya is mobilizing resources and putting together an infrastructure upgrade program.

The Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi, one of the mooted venues, is undergoing renovation. Plans for a new venue,  Talanta Stadium, also in Nairobi, are complete.

“The designs are ready. We have been working on the financing arrangements, so, we should be getting the groundbreaking for that any time soon. So, the whole program is good,” Namwamba told CGTN in an exclusive interview.

Namwamba confirmed that Kenya observed the 2023 tournament in Côte d’Ivoire to identify areas for growth and improvement.

Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba. PHOTO: X/@SASDF_Kenya

“We are picking lessons, useful lessons, and I have no doubt that this is going to be a good learning curve.”

With the 2023 AFCON over, attention now turns to the trio of East African nations, who will be under some pressure to deliver a tournament with as much excitement and organisation.

But some Kenyans worry that the country will not be ready to host the tournament in time, particularly in light of previous failures.

In September 2017, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stripped Kenya of the right to host the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), a tournament for local-based players only.

CAF made the decision because of accumulated delays from reports of various inspection missions done in the country.

Kenya also lost the right to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996. Officials determined the country’s facilities at the time were below standard.

Despite those incidents, Namwamba expressed confidence that it will be the third time lucky for Kenya, and the other co-hosts.

“Kenyans can rest assured, East Africans can rest assured that – Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania – we will be ready for AFCON 2027 and it will be an incredible experience.”

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