CAF due for final 2018 CHAN inspection in Kenya next week

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-08 09:06:44|Editor: Yurou
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By Kimathi Kamau

NAIROBI, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Confederation of African Football will now conduct the final inspection on the preparation of the 2018 Africa Home Nations Cup (CHAN) before giving Kenya the greenlight or stripping the country of the event next week.

The eight-member CAF inspection team will conduct the last tours of the facilities set aside for the biennial second-tier continental football showpiece from Sept. 11-17.

Thereafter, the inspectors led by second vice president, Constant Omari, will present their findings to the 23rd CAF Congress in Ghana that will be held in just under a fortnight where the fate of Kenya as hosts will finally be determined.

Omari concluded his two-day visit to Kenya on a fact-finding mission on Wednesday after CAF suspended the final inspection due to political unease in the country.

Principal Secretary in Charge of Sports Development Peter Kaberia, sought to assure the CHAN would be held in Kenya as planned from January 12 to February 14 2018.

Reports are rife the continental football governing body could turn to South Africa or Morocco to host the 16-team tournament should Kenya be deemed short of the requirements amidst rising political tension in the country.

Kenyans will go to the polls on Oct. 17 for a re-run of the presidential election after the country's Supreme Court overturned the results of the first round of the exercise held on Aug. 8 last week citing irregularities in the electronic tallying of the votes.

The costly election re-run and an economy slowed by the tensions surrounding the voting exercise in a nation that witnessed post-election violence in the aftermath of the 2007 disputed presidential election cast doubts on the government's ability to underwrite the 46.48 million U.S. dollars needed to host the event.

"A lot has been said behind the scenes just like it was the case during the IAAF World Under 18 Championships which we went on to host successfully.

"We are determined to host CHAN and do it well. We call upon the sporting fraternity to be positive as we are focused to delivering within time," Kaberia announced.

Kaberia told reporters that the visiting CAF boss Omari left with all the guarantees he needed from the State that Kenya was ready for the event open to home grown players.

"He was here. We talked and assured him that the political activities will not hinder the preparations already ongoing in the venues. We even toured one of the stadiums to have a view of the progress. He was indeed impressed and so we are waiting for the last inspection," Kaberia added.

He did not however, confirm whether the government had given CAF the financial guarantee they need to allow Kenya to host the CHAN.

Should CAF strip Kenya the 2018 CHAN as feared, it will be the second time the nation loses a continental football showpiece due to internal political factors after it was denied the rights to host the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).