Kenyatta, engage CAF directly to save CHAN -Nyamweya

Former FKF President and Shabana FC patron, Sam Nyamweya. PHOTO/File
Former FKF President Sam Nyamweya. PHOTO/File

Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Sam Nyamweya has appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to reach out to CAF directly, to save the country’s dwindling chances of hosting CHAN 2018.

Nyamweya has also pleaded with CAF (Confederation of African Football) to be keep faith with Kenya, despite the delay in concluding preparations.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, Nyamweya underscored it would be a national embarrassment if Kenya lets go the hosting rights.

“…you are all aware I fought very hard to secure the hosting rights during my time as at FKF. I stood with pride alongside Cabinet Secretary Dr.Hassan Wario in Kigali as we were handed over the flag to host the second highest football showpiece on the continent.

“I’m greatly concerned by the news that CAF has indefinitely cancelled the travelling itinerary for the delegation that was due to conduct the final inspection of our preparedness that was scheduled for later this week,” read part of Nyamweya’s statement.

During the last CAF ExtraOrdinary General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco, the Executive Committee set August 28 as the date for the last inspection, which was later pushed forward to September seven shortly before general elections.

CAF president Ahmad Ahmad had told journalists in his tour to South Africa in July that the continental body was cognizant of political situation in Kenya hence more grace period for preparations.

According to Nyamweya, the state of the country vis-à-vis CHAN is ‘further compounded when looked at against the fact that CAF will hold its Executive Committee meeting in Ghana in just under three weeks time’.

“It is obvious that the agenda of CHAN 2018 will top the agenda of that meeting, considering that we are yet to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that we have the most important infrastructure ready – stadiums.

“I want to call upon the government to move fast and reassure CAF that we would burn the midnight oil to ensure the completion of stadia happens in good time. In thanking the government for committing resources to this project and giving contracts to contractors to undertake the massive works, may I urge His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and save the country of the impending embarrassment,” observed the former FKF boss.

The development comes at a time CAF 2nd Vice President Constant Omari is in Nairobi to assess the political situation as Kenya prepares for fresh presidential elections in under 55 days.

Sources close to CAF summit told Citizen Digital the tournament is as good as gone to South Africa, with the declaration expected to be made on September 23.

This would be a repeat of the 1996 fate, when Kenya lost African Cup of Nations (AFCON) the Southern Africa nation which they went on to win.

“The ramifications are big and could isolate the country from the potential of hosting any future tournaments.

“Remember, it took us nearly 20 years to have this chance after our failure to host the 1996 Africa Nations Cup. Another failure would lead to far-reaching sanctions, which may include a two-year suspension from all CAF activities,” added Nyamwea.

While there was substantial reasons to doubt Kenya’s ability to be ready for the exclusively local based players before the latest CAF move, annulling of the presidential election by the Supreme Court is a blow to Kenya, as FKF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Muthomi opines.

” The CAF Vice President is here so that he is advised by the federation and government stakeholders on what to expect in preparations at a time the country is going back to presidential elections. Definitely CAF got concerned after the Supreme Court ruling annulling the presidential election.

“Work at the earmarked venues is however ongoing smoothly, and the commitment is evident,” Muthomi told.

And, Nyamweya, is confident the country can easily manage both elections and CHAN planning concurrently.

“CAF should give Kenya that benefit and be confident we will be ready to successfully host the tournament come January. Kenyans are a very resilient people and the recently-concluded IAAF World Youth Championships attest to that fact.

“It is time FKF and the Local Organizing Committee adopted a bi-partisan approach and bring on board every single individual or institution together to save our great country the shame that might be imminent should CAF pass a vote of no confidence in our ability to stage the showpiece,” he concluded.

Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium, Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Kinoru of Meru, Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino and Moi Sports Centre Kasarani are earmarked for the tournament.

The former four are currently under serious renovations, with Sports Kenya taking over from County Governments to fast track the process.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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