‘Stop lying to Kenyans!’ Ex-Harambee Stars striker scoffs at government over unrealistic 2027 AFCON hype

FOOTBALL: ‘Stop lying to Kenyans!’ Ex-Harambee Stars striker scoffs at government over unrealistic 2027 AFCON hype

Mark Kinyanjui 05:30 - 20.07.2023

The former goal scoring machine insists that hosting the 2027 AFCON would require alot of resources that the country simply does not have

Former Kenyan international Boniface Ambani has challenged the government to become more realistic on matters hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations alongside Uganda and Tanzania.

In May, president William Ruto alongside Ababu Namwamba launched the East Africa Pamoja bid that will see the region compete for the hosting rights for the tournament against Botswana, Algeria and Egypt.

Ambani has boldly said that Kenya ‘needs to stop lying to its citizens’ if the current standards are anything to go by after the country lost the 2018 African Championship of Nations (CHAN) bidding rights due to inadequate facilities.

“I remember the last time I was here, we were discussing about Kenya hosting the 2018 CHAN (African Championship of Nations) with Nick Mwendwa,David Kwalima and John Njogu ” Ambani told NTV.

“All three said we would host the tournament. I am the only one who said we would not host it. They nearly beat me. But did we host the tournament or not? Infact, I even said I would beg for forgiveness had we won the rights. I was proved right!

“There is no need to lie to Kenyans. I saw the president and the Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba-who is a good friend of mine- at the State House launching the East Africa Pamoja bid. There is no need to keep lying.

“I like being truthful and honest. We are nowhere near hosting an Africa Cup of Nations. We have the ambition, but we do not have the resources to make it a reality.”

The former AFC Leopards, Yanga and Tusker striker believes that Kenya are ‘nowhere close’ to hosting a tournament like that, given CAF insisted Nyayo Stadium and Kasarai ‘do not meet the requirements needed’ to host international matches for the third year in a row.

“Hosting CHAN or the Cup of Nations is no joke! We do not have any stadiums that meet CAF or FIFA’s requirements. We need to stop all this PR and tell each other the truth. To host such a tournament,you also need good training facilities. We are talking about big nations like Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal coming to play here. Where will they train?

“They look at the playing surfaces and training grounds. Before you host a tournament, you need to have five cities that have international airports and five star hotels. If you take it to a city like Kakamega, Bukhungu Stadium is yet to be completed. There are no hotels there.

“There was a time we hosted Algeria at Utalii hotel and they said no to it, and yet Utalii is a five star hotel. There is so much work to be done.

“ Even Kasarani, our best stadium, has not met CAF standards. You have to have a full anti-doping room fully equipped, you have to have a hospital that is fully equipped to help someone who may have a complication. 

“You have to have four dressing rooms. This is not like athletics which are easier to host and finish quickly. We are talking about a tournament that requires a minimum of two weeks to host, and you have not considered the fact that there are teams that will come here earlier.

“We are talking about nearly 32 (24) teams.We should not lie to each other!”