Preparations to host Africa football championship on track, says Kenya

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Nairobi, Sep 8 (IANS) A Kenyan official has reiterated that the country is on course to host the African Nations Championships (CHAN) scheduled for early 2018.

Principal Secretary for Sports, Peter Kaberia, said preparations to host the continental football event are in top gear and dispelled talk that the hosting rights for the competition could be snatched from the East African nation, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Initially there was delay but we have addressed the grey areas and work is in progress to comply with the requirements stipulated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF),” Kaberia said here on Thursday evening.

He was speaking during the signing of an agreement with Kenya Airways as the national carrier for all Kenyan sports teams flying out of the country for competitions abroad.

Kaberia said the government will make the event successful as the World Under 18 Athletics Championships.

There have been fears that Kenya’s hosting rights for the event is slipping away owing to the country’s slow pace of putting in place requisite infrastructure for hosting the tournament.

“We are still the hosts up to now because CAF has not designated the hosting rights to any other country. In fact the continental association is impressed with the efforts we are putting towards the event,” Kaberia said.

The East Africa nation won the bid in 2015 to host the tournament that features national teams whose players exclusively play in their respective domestic teams

Kaberia said that the one year contract between the Kenyan government with the national carrier will increase efficiency, save money and do away with unpredictable flights schedules.

“Teams will not arrive at competition venues in a huff because of delays caused by delayed or cancelled bookings because the airline will receive schedules for all international events well in advance,” he said.

The Regional General Manager of Kenya Airways, Grant Onyango, said teams flying on the airline will receive special recognition during flights in addition to maintaining 24-hour contact with players.

“We will fly teams across the globe, including where we don’t operate scheduled flights, because Kenya Airways being a member of Sky Team has partners who fly to all corners of the world,” Onyango said.

The Kenya U-20 football team will be the first beneficiaries of the deal when they fly to Ethiopia later this month for the World Cup qualifier, followed by the national hockey team that will take part in the Africa Qualifiers in Cairo, Egypt next month.

–IANS

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