Why Kenya’s bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations could yet again flop
Kenya faces a tough challenge in her bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with bigwigs Senegal and Morocco also keen on hosting the that edition of the biennial continental football showpiece.
Kenya’s intention to host the tournament was recently confirmed by President William Ruto.
Speaking during Jamhuri Day’s celebrations, President Ruto also announced that an Under-19 Bottom-Up tournament would start at ward level in all 47 counties as part of Kenya Kwanza administration’s football vision 2030.
The Bottom-Up tournament is part of a wider plan by government to qualify the national men’s football team, Harambee Stars, for the 2030 World Cup and host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations alongside other East African countries.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba also echoed the president’s words, saying Kenya could co-host the tournament alongside Uganda and Tanzania, or go it alone.
“There is the possibility of going it alone because we want maximum benefit from the event but we can also pick on two or three other East African Community members in the spirit of regional integration,” said Namwamba after gracing the Jamhuri Day Cup duel between AFC Leopards and Sofapaka at the Nyayo National Stadium on Monday.
Other than Kenya, Senegal and Morocco, the other countries that have been reported to preparing bids for the 2027 Afcon are former African champions Zambia, Botswana-Namibia and Burkina Faso.
Each of these bids will be considered separately, initially by an inspection team from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that will visit all the bidding countries to determine their preparedness. Thereafter a vote will be done by a committee to award the winning.
Kenya will have to up its game to stand a chance considering the country has previously been offered an opportunity to host the tournament in 1996 only for the hosting rights to be taken away owing to the country’s lack of preparedness. The year’s edition of the tournament was subsequently hosted and won by South Africa.
Then in 2018, Kenya was granted the hosting rights for the second-tier African Nations Championship (Chan), but yet against lost the opportunity due to a lack of progress with their preparations. Thereafter Morocco was announced as the tournament’s host nation.