CAF's team arrives on Monday for final inspection

By alex wafula
Sep 08, 2017
  • Hassan Wario, the Sports Minister listens to CAF's second vice president Constant Omari. A final inspection team arrive on Monday and will for eight days assess Kenya's preparedness for CHAN. (Photo b

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has informed Football Kenya Federation that it will send a final inspection team to assess the country’s preparedness for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Monday.

The eight-man team led by second vice president Constant Omari will be in the country for eight days.

They are expected to assess the progress in rehabilitating stadia and will pass on the report back to their headquarters in Cairo. Its contents will base the decision on whether or not the tournament will remain in Kenya.

There have been growing fears that the country will not host the biennial championship because all the venues are far from complete.

Construction at Nyayo National Stadium, Kenyatta Stadium (Machakos), Kinoru Stadium (Meru) and Kipchoge Keino (Eldoret) have just picked up and work is expected to be completed in the next 12 weeks.

“I have been to Nyayo and I must say I am impressed with what they are doing there. Kinoru and Kip Keino are also progressing very well. We are confident but definitely not overly confident that we will be ready in time. Let the CAF guys come and see. We are not ready now, but we will be ready,” Nick Mwendwa, the FKF president beamed.

CAF had initially set to come to the country this Thursday, but put off the same on grounds of an unstable political situation following last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.

Political stability assurance

Omari arrived on Sunday night and met with the Sports Minister on Monday, where he received assurances that the political situation will not affect Kenya’s readiness.

“He asked us questions about whether or not the preparations for the tournament will be hindered in any way by the political situation and the minister gave him answers. He took, notes, didn’t say much but asked very hard questions,” Herbert Mwachiro, the deputy Local organizing Committee Chief Executive Officer said.

CAF Executive Committee will meet in Accra, Ghana on September 23. At this meeting, CAF shall confirm whether or not Kenya will host the event. Mwendwa will be i Ghana.

Already, sources intimate that South Africa, who did not qualify for the tournament, have been sounded up by CAF to be ready just incase the pendulum swings off Kenya’s favor.

A mention of South Africa as possible hosts has come even as the Ministry of Sports remained that Kenya will host the championship.

Peter Kaberia, the Principal Secretary in the Sports Ministry exuded confidence that work will be complete in time.

“We are doing everything possible to make sure that we host CHAN. We are still on course and we will deliver. We have talked to all the technical people and they have promised to deliver everything on time; we don’t have a reason to worry,” Kaberia assured on Thursday.

Kenya won the rights to host the tournament in 2015 and were officially handed the mantle after the last Championship in Rwanda last year February.

Kiberia admits ministry at fault

But almost 18 months since then, not much has been achieved. Kaberia admitted the ministry is at fault for not getting things done on time, but was quick to point out there is still time to rescue the situation.

“We are not out of time. But could we have done this earlier? Yes. But let us concentrate on what is ahead of us so that we can be able to achieve our target,” the PS added.

He said this on the sidelines of the signing of a partnership with Kenya Airways, giving the national carrier exclusive rights to fly all national teams heading in and out the country.

The deal, according to Kaberia will help national federations plan better and get more pocket friendly costs.

“It is a great milestone for us and the members of the federations are excited. We will no longer wait till the last minute to make ticket bookings because we will have the entire schedule with Kenya Airways,” Kaberia said after signing the agreement.