Azimio governors from Western Kenya have raised concerns over the venues for hosting the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in the 2027.
The African Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2027 hosting plan excludes the Nyanza and Western regions, according to a joint statement on Sunday from Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o and his Kakamega counterpart Fernandes Barasa.
The governors claim that the government intends to limit the hosting of the premier event to Nairobi and Eldoret for the 2027 Afcon Games.
In their letter, the two governors noted that Kisumu and Kakamega should have been included in the Afcon hosting plans.
“The UDA government has announced that the AFCON 2027 football matches shall be held in Nairobi and Eldoret,” the governors said.
‘’The Western region of Kenya is where football fans exist in plenitude. NOT in Uasin Gishu, or Eldoret for that matter,’’ the statement read in parts.
The two Azimio governors further noted that the government’s decision to host the games in the two cities is likely to have a negative effect including fans keeping off the stadiums, especially in Eldoret, which the Governors claimed has fewer football fans compared to Kisumu and Kakamega.
‘’The success of the matches will be on the turn up at the stadia where the matches will be held,’’ the statement further read.
The two county chiefs further claimed that Eldoret, which is globally renowned as an athletics hub, is not known for having a football culture, hence they claimed that fans are unlikely to turn up for the matches.
‘’Eldoret has athletes and athletic fans in millions. But not soccer. And that is the naked truth. This means the Afcon matches will be played in empty stadiums with very little impact,’’ they added.
They further claimed that the regions had been denied a chance to host the Afcon games because they are opposition strongholds.
‘’That would be extremely myopic as the President was representing the Republic of Kenya when he teamed with our colleagues in the East African Community. Coming back home, he seems to have changed the goalpost,’’ they stated.
They noted that their neighbours who are cohosting the tournament with Kenya, under the PAMOJA proposal, have each chosen three venues, wondering why the same can’t be done in Kenya.
‘’It should be noted that our neighbors who are cohosting the tournament with us, under the PAMOJA proposal, have each chosen three venues namely: Uganda- Kampala, Lira and Hoima; Tanzania-Dar e Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha. Why can’t we do the same in Kenya?’’ the statement questioned.
The Azimio governors asked the government to reconsider the plans and make changes to allow the schedule to have a national outlook.