CONFIRMED: Harambee Stars to host first ever World Cup qualifier away from home against Burundi


CONFIRMED: Harambee Stars to host first ever World Cup qualifier away from home against Burundi

Festus Chuma 16:12 - 14.05.2024

Burundi has confirmed hosting their World Cup qualifier against Kenya in a different location.

Burundi has officially announced that their upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifier against Harambee Stars will be held at the Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on June 3. 

This unusual arrangement comes as a result of Kenya lacking a Confederation of African Football (CAF) approved stadium with its major sports facilities currently under renovation.

The Nyayo National Stadium and Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani are undergoing upgrades to meet international standards. 

The renovations are part of Kenya's preparation for hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) alongside Uganda and Tanzania. 

The 60,000-seater Kasarani stadium is expected to be ready by December, while the Nyayo Stadium is also closed as it prepares for the African Nations Championship in September.

In response to the venue challenges, Kenya's Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba expressed the government's proactive stance.

 "The Government of Kenya, through our Ministry and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), is in consultation with CAF and FIFA regarding the venue for Harambee Stars’ next World Cup qualifiers games scheduled for June 3 and June 11, 2024, against Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire," Namwamba recently revealed as per Nation.

Burundi shared the news through their national team's social media pages highlighting a cooperative approach between the neighboring nations. 

The choice of Malawi as a host not only reflects the close ties within the East African region but also showcases Malawi's readiness to facilitate significant international fixtures.

This situation places the Harambee Stars in a tough position as they will miss the crucial home support in their quest to secure their first World Cup appearance. 

 In their initial matches of the qualifiers held last November, Kenya recovered from a 2-1 defeat to Gabon by thrashing Seychelles 5-0.

Despite these challenges, the standings in Group F remain competitive.

Both Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon lead the group with six points each, followed by Kenya and Burundi who have three points each. 

The nine group winners from the qualifiers will directly qualify for the World Cup while the four best runners-up will enter a playoff round to compete for a chance at the inter-confederation playoffs.

The venue for Kenya's match against the reigning African champions Cote d’Ivoire on June 10 is yet to be announced adding another layer of anticipation and strategic planning required by the FKF and Kenyan government.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates