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Kenya eye cup of nations bid after success in Cecafa

17 December 2013, 08:05

Nairobi - Kenya is putting in place a bid plan for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup building on the success of hosting the regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Nairobi.

Kenya, was given the chance to host the prime Africa football fiesta back in 1996, but lack of government support saw Confederation of African Football (CAF) transfer the rights to South Africa, who hosted and won the event.

But after seeing the success and euphoria that the regional Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup raised, Kenya is reconsidering its position and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Chairman Sam Nyamweya confirmed that the country will put in a bid to stage the event in 2019.

"We have seen the support and enthusiasm this tournament has brought to this country. The supporters were great, the tempo was high and the success is here for everyone to see."

"We are going forward to build on this success to convince CAF that we can host the Africa Nations Cup. The target is to bid for the 2019 games and hopefully, we will get higher support from the government and the sponsors to have this tournament going. It is time Kenya hosted this tournament," said Nyamweya on Monday in Nairobi.

However, that will have to pass a strict test both by the government, which is calling for more accountability in football management, especially after giving out 500,000 U.S. dollars to host the regional competition.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Sunday that the leadership at FKF must show transparency and open their system to scrutiny so that they can win back the sponsors, who have been reluctant to support football.

However, with an estimated budget of 40 million dollars, it might be along shot for Kenya to bid for the tournament.

There are too many conflicting challenges facing Kenya including security, which will eat a huge chunk of the funds, should the government give the nod to FKF to make a bid.

The last bid to host the 2013 Cup of Nations was originally won by Libya after defeating a Nigerian bid along with three other bid winning nations, Angola, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Bids from Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal were rejected and did not reach the shortlist.

For the first time in CAF history, the hosts of three successive tournaments were chosen at the same time in 2009; Angola was chosen to host in 2010, Gabon/Equatorial Guinea were chosen as hosts for the 2012 Cup and Libya for the 2013 edition.

However, due to the Libyan civil war, Libya traded years with South Africa, so that South Africa hosted in 2013 and Libya will be hosting in 2017.

This was ratified in September 2011 at CAF's Executive Committee in Cairo. It means only the 2019 event is up for grabs and Kenya will be putting its foot in the ring.

This has been given a thumbs up sign by the fans especially after Kenya finally broke the duck and clinched the regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup beating Sudan 2-0 as the curtains came down on the two-week tournament in Nairobi last Thursday.

Captain Allan Wanga led from the front as he scored in either half of the match to give the hosts the title for the first time after 11 years. Kenya last won the tournament, which brings together 12 teams from East Africa in 2002.

"To win at home feels great. We have been training hard. The competition has been stiff, but we have shown that we can do well. When we started the game, we were under pressure, but after I scored, we relaxed and eased into the match," Wanga told Xinhua.

"The second goal was great team effort and it took the wind out of their sails and we could happily dictate the pace," Wanga said in Nairobi.

However, the organisers have been having problems and it threatened the cancel the final after Sudan team was locked in their hotel rooms' hours to the kick off as their host demanded full settlement of their expenses.

It took the intervention of top government officials and members of the organising committee to have the team released after they settled the bills.

"There was some miscommunication and the hotels acted in bad faith. Their money is there after the government released 500,000 dollars," said Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch.

Alongside Sudan, teams from Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea and South Sudan were also locked out of their hotel rooms for similar demands.

But that did not dampen the spirit of the player's to water down the level of competition for the continent's oldest tournament.

Earlier in the third and fourth place play-off, Zambia held their nerve to dismiss Tanzania 6-5 in post match penalties after both sides had battled out to a 1-1 draw during normal playing time.

In the final match, Wanga failed to connect two sitters as his tap in hit the Sudan goalkeeper Abdelrahman Ali just by luck.

However, Wanga's first goal came in the 35th minute when he headed home from a Clifftone Miheso corner kick.

His second was in the 82nd minute when he slid to guide home a James Situma cross from the right flunk. Kenya's head coach Adel Amrouche's strategy to pack the midfield worked perfectly as Sudan was denied any opportunity to threaten the home defence.

"It feels good to win. This is the first trophy the team has won in a long time."

"The tournament serves as a stage in our build up to return the country to the 2015 Africa Nations Cup and the World Cup in 2018," said Amrouche.


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