Government, FKF blame politics for Chan loss

Monday September 25 2017

FKF President Nick Mwendwa (right) address a press conference flanked by Sports PS  Kirimi Kaberia in Nairobi on September 25, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

FKF President Nick Mwendwa (right) address a press conference flanked by Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia in Nairobi on September 25, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The government and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) have unanimously blamed the current political situation in the county for Kenya’s failure to host next year's African Nations Championship (Chan).

Addressing the media in Nairobi on Monday, officials from the Ministry of Sports and FKF said that the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) decision to strip Kenya of the hosting rights were purely guided by the country’s political situation, and not the poor state of sports facilities in the country.

The five stadia eventually earmarked to host the Chan competition were Moi International Sports Center in Kasarani, Nyayo National Stadium, Kinoru Stadium, Kipchoge Keino Stadium and Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, all which require a total overhaul of the playing surface among many other major advancements.

“We are disappointed. We were ready to host that tournament and we pushed it until the very last moment. The key reason we lost this is because of the political situation. I tried to explain to them how our constitution works but they had weren’t convinced,” he said.

Kaberia’s sentiments were echoed by FKF president Nick Mwendwa, who confirmed that he would not vacate office despite his public declaration in March last year, that he would resign if Kenya does not host the biennial football tourney.

Mwendwa also said that Caf had given him the assurance that Kenya would host either the Fifa Under-17 or Under-20 World Cup in 2019 as compensation for the recent development.

Caf is yet to make any official communication regarding this, and it remains unclear how realistic Kenya can host these competition whose bidding process closed on July 17 this year.

“I will not resign because losing the hosting rights cannot be attributed to me or my office. We tried to ask Caf to give us more time but the general risks surrounding the General Election is something they couldn’t agree with,” he said.

The duo’s sentiments however contradict Caf president Ahmad Ahmad’s press conference on Saturday night where he articulated three reasons that led his committee to strip Kenya of the hosting rights of the 16-team competition.

The Madagascar football chief said that according to the Caf technical inspectors, who conducted an inspection tour a fortnight ago, the facilities earmarked to host the competition were only 20% ready, meaning that it would be practically impossible to have them ready before December 1, the date when the venues were to be handed over to Caf organisers.

Ahmad also accused Kenyan officials of being untruthful in the course of their preparations, thereby prolonging their decision making process.

Meanwhile, Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has remained tight lipped almost 72 hours since the country shamefully lost the hosting rights of the continent's second tier football tournament.

Wario snubbed all press conferences regarding Chan in the last four months and failed to avail himself for the last inspection visit by Caf officials early this month.