The dream of hosting Africa Cup of Nations ignites hope for economic growth and footballing excellence in East Africa.
East Africa's dreams of hosting the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in 2027 have been given a boost as the region progresses in its bid to bring the event to its soil.
Former Vihiga Bullets coach Louis Kizito, a prominent figure in regional football, is optimistic about the potential benefits and challenges that come with hosting the tournament.
14:36 - 29.07.2023
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In an exclusive interview, Coach Kizito emphasized the tremendous social, economic, and footballing opportunities that the East Africa Pamoja bid can bring to the region.
"If the East African region wins the rights to host the prestigious tournament, it's going to be so beneficial to region on the social, economic, and footballing levels," he said with enthusiasm.
From an economic perspective, Kizito highlighted the immense growth potential in the hospitality sector.Hosting AFCON would lead to a surge in tourism, boosting hotels, restaurants, and various businesses.
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Football-wise, the gaffer emphasized the invaluable learning experience that local coaches would gain from the teams that camp in the region for a month during the tournament.
Observing top-level training sessions, matches, and interactions with players and staff would undoubtedly enhance the skills and knowledge of local coaching talents.
However, despite the promising prospects, Coach Kizito acknowledged the major challenge that lies ahead—the region's infrastructure.
13:33 - 29.07.2023
Kisia disclosed that they have had great players but have never been able to lift the trophy since 2009.
Roads, stadiums, train stations, and hotels need significant improvement to meet the demands of hosting a major sporting event like AFCON.
To overcome this hurdle, Coach Kizito called for close collaboration between football governing bodies and their respective governments to expedite infrastructure development.
"The biggest challenge to the bid is the infrastructure in terms of roads, stadiums, train stations, hotels, and so on, in and around the East African region. These can be improved by football governing bodies working in close collaboration with their respective governments to build and improve the infrastructure," Coach Kizito asserted.
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Nonetheless, he firmly believes that the East Africa Pamoja bid holds the potential to revolutionize football in the region.
"Hosting AFCON can play a very huge role in raising our football. First and foremost, it will bring the glaring eyes of the world to our region," he stated.
Historically, football scouts have often focused on West and North Africa for talent, but a successful Pamoja bid would shatter these stereotypes and shine a spotlight on the untapped potential of East African players.
Recently, CAF dispatched a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct inspections on the proposed facilities in the region, assessing their suitability for hosting the prestigious tournament.