2018 CHAN: Machakos also fails CAF inspection grade

County of Machakos Chief Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Sports, Co-operative Development and ...
County of Machakos Chief Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Sports, Co-operative Development and Marketing Kennedy Auma (left) leads CAF inspectors into touring the Kenyatta Stadium alongside LOC Deputy CEO, Herbert Mwachiro (Right) on February 22, 2017. PHOTO/Douglas Mutiso

Concern over Kenya’s ability to host the 2018 Africa Home Nations Championship (CHAN) mounted on Wednesday when CAF inspectors gave another designated venue Machakos a vote of no confidence.

The Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos followed poor scores given to Kipchoge Keino (Eldoret) and Nyayo National (Nairobi) on Tuesday and Monday as the enormous task required to get the nation ready for the continental showpiece became clearer.

CAF inspectors toured Machakos County where they accessed Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos University and Machakos Girls’ High School grounds that have been earmarked as match and training venues.

During the visit, the inspectors faulted lack of development at the university and high school grounds declaring them unfit to host teams unless massive investment was made by the institutions concerned to get them to the required standard.

They were similarly not impressed by facilities in place at Kenyatta Stadium including changing rooms, IT infrastructure in place, the state of the playing surface, perimeter fencing and lighting.

With just over ten months to go before the kick-off of CHAN, the second-tier continental tournament that features those exclusively playing in domestic leagues, faith is running thin on the ground that Kenya can pull off staging the event that has Ksh2.7b budget.

However, the Local Organising Committee and county governments concerned have moved to reassure CAF the country will be ready to host the first tournament of its kind within the set timeframe in spite of reports Morocco and Ethiopia were keenly monitoring the situation to step in as alternatives.

Kennedy Auma who is the County of Machakos Chief Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Sports, Co-operative Development and Marketing said that they were preparing for the tournament come 2018.

“We have made adequate preparations to ensure that every facility is ready. Players from countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia are welcome to train here. This is place to be,” the optimistic Auma noted.

He added Kenyatta will soon be fitted with a tartan track and floodlights to boost sporting activity besides ensuring other amenities such as proper drainage and sanitation would be up to required standards.

The official was not keen on speaking a lot with the inspectors who will round their tour in Meru on Thursday before returning to Nairobi where CAF First Vice-president Sukeru Patel from Seychelles is expect to deliver a general report on Friday.

Kenyatta hosted Kenyan Premier League sides Sofapaka FC and Mathare United FC last year but the two teams have opted out of the facility this season.

The proximity of Machakos from the capital Nairobi (70Km) is a huge plus for the County though heavy traffic along the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway before the Machakos turn-off 50km to the town could water down its proximity.

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Story By Douglas Mutiso
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