Hosting Afcon big win for Kenya, EA
That Kenya and her two neighbours, Uganda and Tanzania, have won the bid to host the African Cup of Nations (Afcon), 2027 edition, is a major victory for the sports fraternity in the region.
The win is also historic as it cements the ties between the founding States of the East African Community, whose membership continues to grow.
More importantly, it is a demonstration that there is a positive change in the leadership of sports, not just in Kenya but also in the region, and the synergy between the three partner States should make that edition one worth looking forward to.
Considering that Fifa had banned Kenya from taking part in international football competition, the decision ought to come as a much-needed shot in the arm for local football.
Even as East Africans celebrate, however, they must not lose sight of the tough task that lies ahead given that each of the three countries have to build modern stadia that will be suitable to host international tournaments.
This will also mean there must be new investments in training grounds to ensure the competing teams have world class facilities for their training needs.
In addition, they will need to put in place the supporting infrastructure that will make movement of playing across the three countries seamless. In addition, all three governments should give incentives to investors to improve their hospitality offerings to ensure fans and competitors enjoy their experience when they visit the region.
Indeed, this is an important opportunity for the region to showcase its tourism offerings given that Afcon traditionally offers unparalleled opportunities to showcase the many attractions that host countries have to offer.
To pull off a great show, the three countries should also invest in public acceptance of the responsibility ahead, including encouraging people to start preparing their hearts and minds to fill up stadia to ensure the tournament is a success from start to end. This will require mind change, which can be achieved by organising exciting activities in the lead-up to the tournament.
For Kenya, it will also be necessary to invest in identifying and nurturing talent to ensure the country builds a formidable team that can face off with the best in Africa, and indeed, the world.