President William Ruto on Monday 15th May 2023 set pace for Kenya’s bid to host the 2027 African Cup of nations alongside Uganda and Tanzania.
In an address at Statehouse, the President laid bare the country’s ambition through the plan to achieve the dream to host the continent’s largest soccer competition -AFCON, saying this was an opportunity to showcase Kenya’s potential by engaging the gifts, skills and talents of Kenyans that are yet to be harnessed.
” The plan has set out commitments we intend to accomplish towards fully developing the sporting and the creative economy. This sector is a giant well spring of opportunities to employ millions of young people, increase incomes, enhance our national brand and place Kenya on it’s rightful position as a global athletic and sporting super power,” President Ruto added.
Flanked by Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa among other sports officials, the President reiterated the Government’s commitment to have a ‘development plan, enhance monetization and commercialization of sporting talent and the reinstatement of the country’s football to good standing with football governing body FIFA’ to attract international sports and athletics events to the country.
Through such events the President noted, there would be a great boost to local sports, tourism promotion, employment opportunities and sparkle Kenya’s brand globally.
Referring to the just concluded Kip Keino Classic event that attracted international athletes in the track and field competition affiliated with the world athletics continental tour gold , President Ruto said, Kenya has joined hands with Uganda and Tanzania in putting on the table a joint bid to the Confederation of African Football CAF, seeking opportunity to host the 2027 edition of AFCON.
Stating that the national side Harambee stars has qualified five times for the continental competition in 1972, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 2019, the President was convinced this was the time the country hosted the competition alongside Uganda that had qualified seven times in 1962, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1978, 2017 and 2019 as well as Tanzania who had qualified twice in 1980 and 2019, and that this joint bid was live to the fact that the teams would successfully qualify for the 2027 tournament and do well individually.
President Ruto has tasked Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports andArts to lead Kenya’s charge towards liaising with his Ugandan and Tanzanian counterparts to come up with a winning bid.
If this bid is to go through, 2027 will be the first time AFCON is hosted in East Africa, even as President Ruto expressed confidence in having the bid accepted by CAF adding that he had consulted other East African heads of state to have the tournament held in the three countries successfully.
In readiness for the tournament, the President has called on all stakeholders in the country to rally together and focus on getting football and athletics back to it’s levels.
The African Cup of Nations AFCON was last hosted in Egypt in 2022 and was won by Algeria who beat Senegal 4 2 on penalties.
Several African countries including Algeria, Botswana, Egypt are jostling for the final nod from CAF to host the 2027 tournament.