Nyayo wrong venue for church crusade

Friday, February 23rd, 2024 07:00 | By
Nyayo stadium. PHOTO/Print

Renowned televangelist Benny Hinn is in town. The preacher is making his second visit to the country in two decades at the invitation of First Lady Rachel Ruto. The three-day visit has attracted thousands of local and international guests from more than 20 countries.

The two-day crusade that is expected to attract more than 20,000 attendees will be at the Nyayo National Stadium, which is expected to be one of the venues of this year’s CAF Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) football tournament in September.

Kenya was awarded the hosting rights for the 2024 CHAN alongside neighbours Uganda and Tanzania with the tournament set to act as a yardstick to the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations that will also be jointly hosted by the three neighbours.

With Moi International Sports Centre-Kasarani closed since December for major renovations in preparation for the continental showpiece in 2027, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba had initially indicated Nyayo and Bukhungu (in Kakamega) stadiums would be prepared to play host to the CHAN after minor touch ups, but for the ministry and Sports Kenya to allow crusades on the facility a few months before the action, is a mockery to the idea of hosting the event.

Word has it that officials from CAF were expected in the country this week to inspect the facility meant to host the CHAN event, but they were convinced to postpone their trip to avoid embarrassment by the sight of a mega crusade in the heart of the playing field of one of the identified venues. This is a national shame.

In what will be an audition for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations which three East African nations will co-host, the trio have just six months to be ready for the tournament which features players only playing in the African leagues.

This is the second time Kenya is getting a bite of the cherry after they were awarded the 2018 hosting rights only to see the tournament taken away due to delays in preparations.

Stadia was the major problem at the time as the country did not display any seriousness in getting the facilities needed ready in time but their task has been made much easier now as each country will be required to have just one stadium for the tournament. Nyayo stadium is candidate.

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