Mwendwa slams local media for ‘poor’ 2018 Chan coverage

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa makes his speech during the Kenyan Premier League 2016 ...
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa makes his speech during the Kenyan Premier League 2016 awards in Nairobi on December 13, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa has accused the media for downplaying Kenya’s chances of hosting the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan).

Mwendwa – who jetted back from Gabon on Monday night – announced that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Issa Hayatou had reassured his support for Kenya’s bid to host the biennial showpiece during a series of meetings held at the Central African state.

Mwendwa then slammed the local press accusing them of not giving the second-tier continental showpiece open to homegrown players the prominence he felt it deserves ahead of a visit by a team of technical experts from CAF on February 20 for a five-day inspection tour.

Mwendwa said he witnessed a ‘fantastic soccer bonanza’ in ‘a small country’ Gabon, referring to the recently concluded African Cup of Nations (Afcon) where Cameroon were crowned champions when they beat record titleholders Egypt 2-1 in the final.

“I will keep insisting we are on course to host to this championship until the day you (media) back me up because it appears you do not share in the belief that we are capable. Gabon is a small country yet they organized a successful tournament and from that we can take a lot of positives. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be ready to host the championships here in Kenya come January next year,” Mwendwa lampooned.

Mwendwa admitted Kenya remains an unconvincing host to the event in the eyes of CAF and with only 10 months left, whether they have the time to be fully equipped.

“At the moment only Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums meet the standards set by CAF while Kinoru, Machakos, Kip Keino and Mombasa stadiums do not. However, work is rapidly in progress in all of these stadiums and I’m certain they shall all achieve the threshold,” he stressed.

Ivory Coast hosted the first Chan in 2009 which was won by the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The competition was expanded to 16 teams for the second tournament, held in Sudan in 2011 and won by Tunisia.

The creation of Chan was a response to the desire to revive or strengthen national competitions regularly weakened by a mass exodus of top players who leave their home countries to play for foreign teams which will pay more and get them more media coverage.

It is held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations.


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