Relief for Harambee Stars as AFCON 2025 qualifiers likely to be hosted on home soil after all

Relief for Harambee Stars as AFCON 2025 qualifiers likely to be hosted on home soil after all

Mark Kinyanjui 12:30 - 18.06.2024

Nyayo Stadium could be available for use by September, which now means Harambee Stars won't have to host their home matches abroad again, having played Burundi and Ivory Coast in Malawi.

In a bid to secure a venue for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, Kenya will apply for a provisional license to use Nyayo Stadium and other facilities.

Currently, Kenya lacks a stadium approved by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to host such matches. Both Nyayo Stadium and Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, along with other local stadiums, failed to meet the minimum regulations set by CAF. 

Consequently, these stadiums are undergoing renovations. Additionally, Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega is also being upgraded, while a new Talanta Kenya Sports City Stadium, with a projected seating capacity of 60,000, is under construction in Nairobi.

Speaking after The Kenya U-17 Women’s team Junior Starlets secured a ticket to the U-17 World Cup which will be taking place at the Dominican Republic in October, Mwendwa confirmed that plans were underway to ensure that Nyayo Stadium will be available for use by the time the qualifiers come up.

“We will apply for a provisional license later in July, and I assure you, we will get it. I want to promise Kenyans that if the minister finishes the work, then we are going to host AFCON qualifiers in September in the country,” Mwendwa told the media as quoted on Mozzart Sport.

He also expressed confidence in the progress of the renovations at Nyayo Stadium, saying, “I met the contractor undertaking the renovations at Nyayo Stadium and believe if all goes to plan, the works will be done by the time the application is made.”

Looking ahead, Mwendwa shared his optimism about the Harambee Stars' performance and their chances of qualifying for the 2025 African Cup of Nations Finals in Morocco. 

“We are developing a solid team, and I am glad that there is consistent growth in every area of our game. We drew two games against Burundi and Ivory Coast and won the four-nations tournament prior to that.”

He emphasized the importance of consistency in support and actions for the improvement of the game.

 “If we can do it consistently, then we can achieve anything. We have improved much, and nowadays there is no need to say much; the results will speak for themselves, if not now, later.”

Kenya recently hosted its home World Cup qualification matches in Lilongwe, Malawi. The move to secure a provisional license for Nyayo Stadium is a crucial step towards ensuring that future matches can be held on home soil.