Kenya was dealt a huge blow after Confederation of African Football (CAF) stripped them off the rights to host the 2018 edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) and Twitter storm blew up, with many Kenyans taking to Twitter to express their frustrations.
The decision to strip Kenya of the voting rights was reached after executive committee of CAF held a meeting in Accra, Ghana led by President Ahmad Ahmad, as the country was viewed unready for the upcoming tournament meant to kick off on January 12 to February 4, 2018, even after they had won the rights in over three years.
It is the second time that Kenya has lost the rights to host an event of such caliber. In 1996, Kenya lost the rights to host Africa Cup of Nations and took another 21 years, to get another chance, which they squandered.
A CAF inspection team, which had arrived in the country, reported that only one of the four venues set to stage the matches were ready for the tournament. Some members of the CAF executive committee expressed fears over the rising political climate as a closely contested presidential election is set in the close of October.
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Reacting to the CAF’s tough call, Kenyans took their anger and disappointment to social media, blasting the football confederation headed by Nick Mwendwa, as well as the Sports minister, Hassan Wario.
They termed the leadership as incompetent, shameless and full of jokers, who haven’t made efforts to improve on the previous leadership. Many of the football supporters have called on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President to honour his promise of stepping down, as he had said earlier, in the event Kenya lost the rights to host CHAN 2018.
It still beggars belief, to them, that the FKF was not ready to host the tournament, with the budget being approved two days prior to CAF’s decision. Here are some of the sample views and opinions compiled by www.aclsports.com:
SO WE Kenyans can’t host CHAN 2018? CAF, we shall revisit!
— Linus Kaikai (@LinusKaikai) September 23, 2017
Seriously? Someone expected Kinoru and Kipchoge Stadia be approved to host CHAN 2018? African Football deserves better, the best
— Justin Mwetich (@Mwetinho) September 24, 2017
Kisumu & Mombasa were moved from initial CHAN 2018 itinerary because they’re “opposition zones”, at the instigation of @WilliamsRuto .
— Francis Gaitho (@Kenyafootball) September 24, 2017
I Will Resign If Kenya Loses 2018 CHAN, FKF President Mwendwa Vows https://t.co/KeTZmVtcXS
— Mac Otani (@MacOtani) September 23, 2017
Now that we’ve lost the rights of hosting CHAN 2018, I am sure the stadium upgrades will stop and someone will pocket the money allocated.
— CHAMP. (@AdamMaina_) September 23, 2017
There’s a bunch of football journalists who hounded Sam Nyamweya out of office for these same goofs Nick Mwendwa is making. Where are they?
— Gabriel Oguda (@gabrieloguda) September 24, 2017
Many Kenyans are yet to come into terms with the decision, given the anticipation they had in hosting a continental event. They see it as a lost chance for the local footballers to showcase their talents.
The effects of such lack of timely preparations will continue to be felt in the long term, but it has to serve as a wake up call to the federation, and the government in particular. They must put in the right measures, policies and infrastructure, to ensure that another chance in the future won’t be lost.