Machakos to host Cecafa grand finale
The Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos will host the final of the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, Football Kenya Federation president, Nick Mwendwa, has said.
Mwendwa, in an interview with Citizen Digital, ended the debate that had dominated talks in football quarters on the ideal venue to host the grand finale.
Several counties among them, Kakamega County, Kisumu County and Nairobi City County had shown interest in hosting the final but it seems Machakos piped them all to claim the rights.
Initially, Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye had said several factors including the teams that qualified for the semis and commitment by respective counties would count in picking the venue of the final match.
Kakamega, Kisumu and Nairobi counties were then in contention, a source within the Local Organising Committee (LOC) reiterating the highest bidder would carry the day.
“It will be here (Machakos). We go to Kisumu for the semi finals as we announced before, then return here for the final,” Mwendwa told Royal Media Services’ Radio Citizen immediately after Kenya’s 1-0 over Tanzania at the venue.
Concerning fans apathy in Machakos, Mwendwa expressed confidence that ‘things can only get better’ as the tournament progresses.
“I know the trend of Kenyans, if we win they will come. We have done well, we are now in the semis. You will see the numbers improving, approximately 15,000 to 20,000 by the time we get to the finals.
“I however challenge them to turn up and support their team. It is theirs in winning moments and losing ones too,” the federation boss said.
Earlier on, Kakamega County Acting County Minister of Social Services, Youth and Sports Robert Sumbi had pleaded with the LOC to take the final to his backyard, saying the mammoth crowd that graced the opening match between Kenya and Rwanda on December 3 was a manifest of locals’ enthusiasm for the sport.
“Everyone can attest to this, fans overwhelmingly came to support our team. As a county we have been burning the midnight’s oil to be on top of the game as far as hosting the tournament is concerned.
“It is our hope that the final will be played here (Bukhungu Stadium), and will be certainly bigger and better,” he equipped.
Meanwhile, Mwendwa revealed federation’s main sponsor, a local gaming firm has pledged Sh 3million to Harambee Stars if the Paul Put coached side wins the tournament.
This follows another Sh 2million pledge by Nairobi Governor Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi and his Machakos counterpart Dr. Alfred Mutua.
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