KENYANS’ CHAN PLEA TO CAF
KENYA has in desperation applied to the Confederation of African Football (Caf ) to at least include them in the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) should the tournament be handed to a country that has qualified.
In the aftermath of the widely expected decision that saw the continental body stripping the east Africans of the right to host the Chan, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa tabled a proposal to Caf.
The FKF boss tabled a motion that Kenya should be allowed either to enter as a substitute for the country that wins the hosting rights if that particular nation has already qualified, or be allowed to engage in a play-off.
“If the country that wins the bid has qualified, then one of the things we want to do is to ask Caf whether we can have a play-off match with the number two team from that group and the winner qualifies,” Mwendwa proposed.
The east Africans were last week stripped of the right to host the biennial tournament reserved for players based in Africa due to their failure to offer guarantees that the venues would be ready to host the event.
Ghana has emerged as the frontrunner to host the tournament after throwing their name into the hat when Caf opened up new bids for the hosting rights, with Egypt, Morocco and South Africa also mentioned among possible candidates.
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Peter Kaberia conceded after Caf had taken the decision that he did not think the Ministry of Sport had failed the people of Kenya after the government had released funds to refurbish infrastructure only a week ago.
“I don’t think the ministry has failed Kenyans,” said Kaberia.
“The people in the ministry worked hard and I would be unfair to water down the efforts to blame game, and I can’t sit here and blame my boss because of what he did or did not do,” Kaberia said.
Kenya was awarded the right to host the tournament in Rwanda almost two years ago.
However, it was not until September 21, 2017 that the Cabinet finally approved a Sh4.2 billion (US$4.1m) budget for the tournament.
“We could have done it earlier,” said Kabeira.
“I am not running away from anything. I am taking full responsibility. I will commit to follow it up (renovations) and make sure we finish it because I am sure we have a good chance of putting up good facilities for the future.”
Caf listed among its reasons for taking away the tournament from Kenya the slow progress of renovations as they felt most of the work would not be completed by December, a month before the championship.
“I know many people want me out, but I will not resign,” said FKF president Mwendwa.
“There is an election in 2020 and those wishing me to resign should wait till then to have their names on the ballot. I made it clear that if we missed Chan because of a mistake by FKF then I would resign. But it was not through the FKF.”
This is the second time Kenya has been stripped of hosting rights of a major continental competition. In 1996, Kenya won the bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations, but like in 2017 they were also stripped of the rights over the same reasons.
Salaheddine Saidi of Wydad AC celebrates scoring with teammates during their Caf Champions League second leg quarter-final encounter against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in Rabat, Morocco, last weekend