If we lose out, we shouldn’t bid again

Monday September 11 2017

Construction work goes on at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town on September 4, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Construction work goes on at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town on September 4, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

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On the calendar of excuses, we are back to 1996.

The ministry of sports, in co-operation with Football Kenya Federation (FKF), have been smiling at us and patting us in the back, trying to soothe us into believing that all is well about Kenya’s preparations to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan).

We have visited stadiums earmarked for the championship, and we must admit that we are concerned.

This was the same thing that happened in 1996 when Kenya won the rights to host the African Cup of Nations.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) inspectors came back again and again, and our officials and the government took them everywhere except to the venues.

They were shown all animals in the game parks and we suppose they were even convinced to adopt some cheetahs. It is good to adopt a cheetah, but when Kenya does that to you, it tells a lot.

In the end, Caf, disgusted with our dilly-dallying, stripped us of the hosting rights and gave them to the newly-independent South Africa.

Those were shameful times indeed.

Many theories have been put forth to explain why we just could not get our act right at the time, and some fingers pointed to our political will.

The past has boiled itself over and we find ourselves in the same position with different actors.

One wonders why Kenya put up a bid to host the tournament in the first place. Why did Caf even take our bid seriously? Last week, Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia was at it again, trying to convince us — with pure words of course — that Kenya is ready to take on the task.

He even went ahead and drew parallels with the good job that was done while we hosted the recent successful IAAF World Under-18 Championships.

He forgot to tell us that many of those who worked at that event have complained of not being paid to date!

Kaberia challenged Kenyans to be positive. “We are confident the tournament will be successfully held in Kenya,” he said. “The Caf vice-president only came assess the political situation in the country after the Supreme Court of Kenya annulled the presidential election.”

The political angle had already been introduced to the mix. His remarks were also echoed by FKF President Nick Mwendwa who crowed in the same tune.

When Caf’s second vice-president Constant Omar visited the country earlier this week, Kaberia said the official expressed satisfaction with assurances given by his ministry and Local Organising Committee. These were only verbal assurances and we shall still harbour our concerns.

If we lose the hosting rights again, we beg the organisers should not allow us to bid for anything else ever again!