SA, Morocco on standby if Kenya fails
KENYA has assured compatriots that they will host the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan), although it is becoming increasingly obvious that the hosting rights will be taken from the east Africans and handed to another host nation.
Kenyan cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr Hassan Wario emphasised the continental football showpiece would be staged as scheduled from January 11 to February 2.
But indications are that the Confederation of African Football (Caf ) have taken precautions due to the slow pace of preparations and THURSDAY At Kampala: Uganda v Egypt (3pm) At Conakry: Guinea v Libya (7pm) FRIDAY At Kumasi, Ghana: Ghana v Congo Brazzaville (5.30pm) At Uyo, Nigeria: Nigeria v Cameroon (6pm) At Praia: Cape Verde v South Africa (8.30pm) At Rades, Tunisia: Tunisia v Democratic Republic of Congo (10pm) At Rabat: Morocco v Mali (10pm) SATURDAY At Lusaka: Zambia v Algeria (3pm) At Libreville: Gabon v Ivory Coast (6pm) At Dakar: Senegal v Burkina Faso (10pm) have requested both Morocco and South Africa to be on standby.
Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Sam Nyamweya seemed to confirm the growing feeling around the continent that Kenya would be stripped of its hosting rights when he expressed his concerns this week.
“It will be unfortunate if Chan is taken away from Kenya,” he said.
“I can’t imagine that the resources we spent to put in a bid will go to waste. I hope something urgent is done to ensure the tournament is staged here.”
The political situation in Nairobi since Uhuru Kenyata defeated Raila Odinga in hotly disputed
Victories away to Congo and at home to Ghana have them top of the table on six points, two more than Uganda.
While Uganda and Egypt square off, Ghana play Congo twice and believe two wins can get them back into contention for a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance.
Were the “Black Stars” to collect six points and Uganda and Egypt draw twice, the west Africans would be just one point behind the Pharaohs.
But it is difficult to image, even if two wins for Ghana over struggling Congo are certainly a possibility.
Evidence from the 2017 Cup of Nations in Gabon is that Egypt have improved dramatically under Cuper and good results have taken them to the top of the Fifa Africa rankings.
Expect the Pharaohs to draw in Kampala and win in Alexandria, moving them significantly closer to Russia and allowing Cuper to ditch that “bridesmaid” tag.
In another matchday 3 fixture next Thursday, pointless Group A pair Guinea and Libya clash in Conakry and only a victory will give either the slimmest chance of qualification.
Democratic Republic of Congo, whose last World Cup appearance was in 1974 as Zaire, and Tunisia share top spot on six points. presidential elections has not made matters easier for the east Africans, who face the prospect of being stripped of their hosting rights.
But the rumours of the hosting rights been taken away from Kenya were fuelled by Caf president Ahmad Ahmad’s recent visits to both Morocco and South Africa, where it is believed he requested the two countries to be on standby.
Should South Africa be granted the rights to host the 2018 event, it would be a case of deja vu as back in 1996, Kenya were supposed to host the Africa Cup of Nations tournament but due to their state of unpreparedness, the rights were given to South Africa, who ended up winning the event.
Morocco have not denied that they could step in and in fact, want the Chan to be the forerunner to their express objective of hosting the expanded 2019 Afcon, which again is also becoming doubtful whether Cameroon would be able to host.
South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan, who is also a member of the newly elected Caf executive committee, has diplomatically reiterated that the 2018 Chan is scheduled for Kenya and pleaded ignorance about the latest developments.
“Treat such as blatant rumours,” said Wario.
“We are going to host Chan next year; don’t be misled by what is happening in social media,” Wario stressed amid growing rumours that Morocco has even started putting together an organising committee.
Wario added that five venues Kinoru in Meru, Nyayo (Nairobi), Kipchego Keino (Eldoret) and Kasarani (Nairobi) - earmarked to host the competition are undergoing renovations.
“I have personally visited most of the facilities and therefore I say this from a point of knowledge,” Wario emphasised, even though the question remains as to whether the venues will be ready a mere four months before the tournament is due to kick off.