In 1996, Kenya were meant to host the Africa Cup of Nations final, but failed to meet the required standards as time ran out.
Then, Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) were rescued by South Africa who also went on to win the title.
Looks like history is about to repeat it’s self after CAF referred to Kenya as ‘big jokers’ ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship.
Kenya won the rights to host the fifth edition of CHAN three years ago but with less than two years to the event, they are far from being ready.
Only two grounds (Kasarani and Nyayo) meet the required standards to host an international event at the level of CHAN.
And much as they are behind schedule, Federation of Kenya Football (KFK) President Nick Mwendwa is confident Kenya will be ready.
We are going to be ready; we have done the inspections with CAF and they told us the areas we need to improve, we are working hard and we will get there. I have commitment from government and CAF knows it so we just need to get down to work and make sure the tournament is a success
MWendwa said via phone while being interviewed by journalists on Soccer Africa, a weekly football show on Supersport, he later added the importance of Kenya hosting CHAN.
We need to host CHAN, Kenya is a football nation but people know us for athletics, we have not been given an opportunity to prove that we are a football nation. So it’s extremely important for Kenya to host the games, because that will boost our revenue, tourism sector and infrastructures
According to CAF Vice President Kabele Camara and Secretary General Hicham Amrani, Kenya’s preparedness at this stage is the worst the continental body has ever encountered.
Of course that was in comparison to the other four editions of the event held in Ivory Coast, Sudan, South Africa and Rwanda respectively.
Kenya needs four standard venues to host Chan and after our inspection it is only Kasarani that meets the requirements. The rest of the venues are not in good condition and need much work if they are to host the matches,”
Mr El Amrani told a Kenyan online publication, Nairobi News, Camara had in January told journalists at the 2016 edition in Rwanda what it takes to pull off a tournament like CHAN.
You need to have a minimum of at least four playing grounds that meet the standards, then a minimum of eight training grounds, the internet system of the country also has to be the best, the transport network and hotel. The medical system has to be top notch in that even if it means to carry out an open heart surgery on the field, we need to be able to do it successfully”
If CAF losses faith in Kenya, Ethiopia is being considered as a readily available alternative in what could be a repeat of what befell the country in 1996.