Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii backs Eldoret to host a memorable Africa Cup of Nations tournament
Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii has defended the move by the national government to stage a number of matches of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations in Eldoret.
His comments, via a press statement on October 2, 2023, came a day after Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and his Kisumu counterpart Anyang Nyong’o jointly questioned the move to hand Eldoret the hosting rights for the games.
Barasa and Nyong’o had, in a statement, argued that it would make more economic sense to move the games from Eldoret, ‘which is commonly known for its athletics heroics’ to Western Kenya, which boasts a large football fanbase.
But Bii stressed that Eldoret, commonly referred to as the city of champions owing to its record of consistently producing world-class athletes, equally deserved to host the continental extravaganza.
The county boss clarified that Eldoret was home to the Kipchoge Keino stadium, named after the legendary long-distance athlete. The sports facility, he added, was under renovation to ensure it is upgraded to host 20,000 fans at a go.
Besides, the town, which is in the process of being elevated to a city, met all the requirements by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to stage the matches including an international airport, five-star hotels, and a Referral hospital.
“We acknowledge the rich sporting heritage and contribution of Kakamega and Kisumu counties towards football development but it is important to note that football is a sport that attracts fans across the country,” said Mr Bii.
The Governor further appealed to Kisumu and Kakamega counties to join and support his county in making the event a success.
“Let us join to get to make the event success not only for Uasin Gishu but Kakamega and Kisumu but for the entire nation,’ said Mr Bii in a statement.
Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania were recently handed the hosting rights to stage the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations under the East Africa Pamoja bid banner.
As part of this bid which was backed by Presidents William Ruto, Samia Suluhu, and Yoweri Museveni, Nairobi and Eldoret in Kenya, Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania, plus Kampala, Lira, and Hoima in Uganda were selected as the primary host cities
The East African bid emerged triumphant despite rival bids from Algeria, Senegal, Botswana, Algeria and a joint bid from Nigeria and Benin.
The Africa Cup of Nations is the biggest sporting event on the continent.
Dubbed the African World Cup, the tournament, which is staged for a month after every two years, brings together 24 of the national teams on the continent.