Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Kenya Formally Bids to Host AFCON 2017

By Omondi Onyatta

Dare to Dream: Kenya's 2017 AFCON bid logo 
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) formally submitted the country’s bid to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on 29 September 2014. Kenya had thrown its hat in the ring after Libya, who were previously designated as the hosts, voluntarily withdrew due to insecurity concerns in the country.

A statement from FKF revealed that among the bid documents submitted was a documentary highlighting Kenya’s sports facilities. The federation exuded confidence that Kenya would be awarded the rights to host Africa’s largest football event. “The bid documents are already at the CAF (Confederation of African Football) headquarters. We are confident that our bid is strong enough for us to host this event,” the statement read.

However, Kenya will have to ward off strong bids from Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Algeria and Zimbabwe to emerge as the hosts for the event. This will only be possible with government support. The statement, signed by FKF Secretary General Michael Esakwa, further praised the government for its support. “We are extremely delighted by the government’s support on our bid,” the statement read.

So far, only the Ethiopian and Ghanaian governments have committed to supporting their football federations' bid to host the tournament. However, Wenlas Ong'ayo, the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, reiterated the Kenyan government’s commitment to bringing the football bonanza to the country. “We have sent a commitment letter to the relevant authorities to show that this bid has the full support of the government,” he revealed.

Kenya has designated four stadiums in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu as possible venues if the country is awarded the hosting rights. They include Nyayo National Stadium and Safaricom Stadium (Nairobi), Moi Stadium (Mombasa), Kipchoge Keino (Eldoret) and the recently refurbished Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

If the bid goes through, this will be the second time the country is awarded the rights to host the tournament. In 1996, the country was scheduled to host the event but pulled out after which it was awarded to South Africa who eventually won the tournament.


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