Afcon: Ababu must stop PR charade
The Africa Cup of Nations extravaganza ended yesterday. There is near consensus that it was a hugely successful event.
It provided a platform for a beautiful display of African football talent. It was also a great convergence of cultures and a major tourist attraction whose proceeds can be utilised to reinvigorate Cote d’Ivoire, the host nation’s economy and transform the lives of its citizens.
This year’s Afcon has been lauded largely for its disciplined organisation. The Ivorians should walk tall for hosting a deftly organised tournament.
After yesterday’s, the focus now shifts to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania which have been picked as the next hosts.
In its bid, Kenya pitched that it will improve Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Nyayo Stadium and Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret.
CAF stipulated that match venues of a hosting country or joint hosts should be near an airport, level five hospital and a five-star hotel. The hosts should also have six stadiums to cater for the 24 teams that take part in the tournament.
Each host must have at least three training grounds near match venues that meet CAF standards. It is worth reminding that Kenya has in the past won rights to host Afcon but it was stripped off the chance on realisation that the relevant facilities were not ready. That is why we are disturbed at what appears to be near lacklustre preparations for the event.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, on whose docket the task falls, has been touring stadiums posing for photographs claiming he is inspecting repairs with little show on the ground.
It is time to remind Namwamba that the preparations for next Afcon are not a PR charade. He must fold sleeves and galvanise responsible officials to deliver the huge task.
Another key player in preparations will be Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which is tasked to prepare Kenya’s team for the tournament. To say that Nick Mwendwa’s leadership of the federation has not inspired an iota of confidence is an understatement.
The kind of juvenile shenanigans that have littered management of football in the country cannot continue if Kenya is to prepare and host a successful Afcon.
Kenyans must summon the courage to fix the leadership crisis at FKF and stop PR stunts at the Sports ministry led by Ababu – before it is too late.