Only one stadium ready: Kenya dropped as African championships host

Kenya has been stripped of the right to host the 2018 African Nations Championship in January because it has only one stadium ready.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced its decision following a meeting in Accra, Ghana on 23 September. Caf said the decision came after the latest inspection mission on 11-17 September.

The 16-team African tournament is scheduled to take place between 12 January and 4 February 2018.

The country’s football body, Football Kenya Federation (FKF), expressed disappointment and said it "did everything humanly possible to ensure that CHAN 2018 became a reality", but it admitted the shortcomings and vowed to keep building.

"Unfortunately," it said in a statement, "lack of up-to-standard infrastructure to host the competition and the need to improve the existing ones meant that Kenya would inevitably play second fiddle to better-placed countries that have invested heavily in infrastructure development over the years."

The BBC reports that only one of four planned stadiums had been completed.

FKF went on to herald a "new dawn" for football in Kenya.

"Today’s decision," it said, "though unfavorable to Kenya as a whole, marks a new dawn for Kenyan football in particular and sport in general due to the ongoing infrastructure development that endeavors to ensure that the country has at least four modern stadiums and a number of training pitches, key in developing the game going forward."

Newspaper Daily Nation reports that Caf criticised Kenyan sport officials for lying about the state of the country’s preparedness.

After disqualifying Kenya Caf opened bidding for other nations to throw their hats into the ring for seven days from 24 September.

According to the BBC this is the second time Kenya has lost the right to stage an African football competition after being replaced by South Africa as 1996 Africa Cup of Nations hosts.

Image: Confederation of African Football 2nd Vice President Constant Omari Selemani, left, and FKF President Nick Mwendwa in a past media briefing (FKF)

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