Nominated senator Raphael Chimera has backed Kenya together with its East Africa counterparts Uganda and Tanzania to secure consideration as the hosts of 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) days after ‘Pamoja bid’ was presented to the Continental of African Football (CAF).
The three countries have come together under the East Africa Commission to bring AFCON to the region for the first time in history by bidding to host the 36th edition of the continental showpiece.
According to the youthful senator, the region has what it takes to host a great tourney adding that the opportunity will be paramount to expose the national team Harambee Stars and showcase local untapped potential to the outside world.
“President William Ruto himself has exhibited unwavering commitment to bring it home and being a lover of the game he would push to make this happen. Already there are mechanisms in place in terms of investment in sports infrastructure like stadia in a bid to help comply with the international standards set by both CAF and world governing football body,FIFA.For us to perform well in our backyard then, we need to prioritise structuring academies early enough to help as feeder programs to our senior national sides” he said.
“The contest will bring in people with big influence in the world as such, it will stimulate the growth of different economic activities leading to creation of jobs, capital to traders and revenue to the government,” he added.
Speaking during a friendly match between Palestine FC and Super Eleven Stars FC which was won 3-0 by the latter at Mtsaviani grounds,Mkongani Ward-Matuga Constituency in Kwale county ,Chimera urged the local leadership to embrace inclusivity and work for the people and stop politicking but deliver on the pledges made to mwananchi.
“I want to also laud President Ruto on his quest to minimise foreign borrowing which will ensure low foreign debt.The Head of State is committed towards making Kenya a debt free nation by embracing internal revenue raising mechanisms” remarked Chimera who is also a lawyer.
Apart from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, CAF has acknowledged receiving a declaration of interest from Algeria, Botswana and Egypt to stage the continental showpiece.
President Ruto who last week received the bid at State House, Nairobi from Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba and Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa,vowed to lobby for the tournament to come to the region for the first time in history.
The Harambee Stars have played at the Nations Cup just twice since 1993, and were barred from qualifiers for the 2023 finals because the country was serving a ban from global football.
In December,the Kenyan government released a statement about its prospective 2027 bid revealing its cabinet had “sanctioned the revitalisation of football as a key cog of our nation’s social fabric” in a bid “to revive the prospects of Kenyan football”.
The three other nations which have also registered interest are Algeria, Botswana and Egypt.
Egypt hosted Afcon as recently as 2019, while earlier this year Algeria hosted the African Nations Championship (Chan) – the pan-continental tournament for locally-based players – meaning those two countries are unlikely to struggle when it comes to infrastructure requirements.
Kenya was stripped of the right to host the 2018 Chan just four months before the finals because several venues were not ready.