Government assures over CHAN, but CAF want progress by end August

By alex wafula
Jun 17, 2017
  • CAF vice president Constant Omari addresses the press after a joint meeting with FKF and government officials. He talked of a back up plan. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Just like he did in March when the last CAF contingent was in town, Hassan Wario, the Sports Cabinet Secretary has assured the continental body that the government is committed to hosting next year’s African nations Championship.

This is despite progress of renovations in most of the venues being behind schedule.

Wario, speaking on Saturday alongside CAF vice president Constant Omari assured that by August 20, when the CAF team will return for another inspection tour, work will have picked up.

The team led by Omari has been in the country over the last five days. They have inspected the Nyayo and Kasarani Stadia in Nairobi as well as Meru’s Kinoru, Machakos’ Kenyatta and Eldoret’s Kip Keino.

“I know we are not fully there, but we have made some progress. The government is fully committed from the top, the President, his deputy… and they are fully informed of the progress we are making. We have not moved at the pace we expected, but work is going on,” Wario announced.

All week, there has been unrest whether or not Kenya will still hold the biennial championship for home based players.

Memories of 1996 when Kenya was set to host the African Cup of Nations but the hosting rights taken away played out but Wario was quick to assure that the same will not happen.

Omari who led the high-powered CAF delegation to Nairobi also said he is confident with the assurances the government has given. He only urged the minister to ensure work is hastened so that there is progress by end August.

“CAF believes in the Kenyan government. If we didn’t believe in them, we wouldn’t have given them this competition. We see what they are doing, we have had meetings and engagement with government and we believe,” Omari said.

Back up plan by CAF

He also added that just as ordinary procedure, CAF always has a back-up plan in case of any major occurrence that may prevent a country from hosting a championship.

But, Omari said, up until this moment, they have no reason not to let Kenya host the competition.

“The main objective of CAF is to organize the tournament in Kenya,” Omari said.

The vice president was impressed with the work the country has put at the Kasarani Stadium ahead of July’s IAAF World Under-18 Championships and said if Kenya could gather itself to organize a world event, then he is confident they will put it together to organize a continental event.

He also admitted that the work put in is not considerable in most of the venues, but is convinced progress will pick up with the tenders already floated and most contractors on ground.

Omari, a DR Congo national put an analogy of Kenya’s prowess in athletics, noting he is not worried with the work being behind schedule.

“I also love athletics and every time I watch on TV, the Kenyan athletes especially in the long races, they are always there at the back but at the end they shoot out and finish ahead of everyone. So I think according to what I have seen, I know Kenya will be ready to do it,” he joked.

According to Nick Mwendwa, the Football Kenya Federation chief, CAF has been impressed with Kasarani and Kinoru Stadium in Meru. However, Nyayo, Machakos and Kip Keino in Eldoret still fall way out of schedule.

Wario has admitted that the concentration on preparations for the World Under-18 Championships has had an effect on the CHAN side.

CAF report

The CAF team will now write a report to be sent back to the government, pointing out their areas of concern and action points before they return.

From Omari’s tone, the August visit, which will be the fourth for a high powered CAF delegation will most likely dictate the next course of action.

“Of course now we have to adjust our timelines because the work has not gone so far, but we are sure, things will be done,” Omari noted.

The team has no problem with transport and hospitality infrastructure as well as the training grounds, but the biggest concern is on the stadia.

According to CAF guidelines for major championships, four stadia are needed to host the tournament.

The four stadia must have at least four changing rooms each, functioning floodlights and reliable back up energy, anti-doping rooms, a working media centre and mixed zone area and reliable working internet.

Of all the proposed stadia, only Kasarani meets at least 80 percent of the requirements. The Kinoru Stadium in Meru is also up to scratch. T

he biggest concern for the team is in Kip Keino where most of the work has not started.