Irony, tribalism as UDA says Afcon matches to be held in Eldoret despite lack of stadiums, football fans

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o
Image: Handout

Governors from two counties in Western Kenya have raised questions and concerns over the venues for hosting the Africa Cup of Nations in the three East African countries in 2027.

“The UDA government has announced that the AFCON 2027 football matches shall be held in Nairobi and Eldoret,” the governors said.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o and his Kakamega counterpart Fernandes Barasa said this in their view is a tragic decision.

“Western Kenya should have been included with either matches being held in Kisumu or Kakamega,” they said.

The governors said the Western region is where football fans exist in plenitude and not in Uashin Gishu, or Eldoret for that matter.

“The success of the matches will be on the turn-up at the stadium where the matches will be held,” they said.

“Eldoret has athletes and athletic fans in millions. But not soccer. And that is the naked truth.”

They further said due to the above,  the AFCON matches will be played in empty stadiums with very little impact.

The governors said the decision may be denying the Western region the opportunity to host the games because they are not shareholders.

“That would be extremely myopic as the President was representing the country when he teamed with our colleagues in the East African Community. Coming back home, the goalpost seems to have changed. That’s unfortunate,” they said.

They noted that their neighbours who are cohosting the tournament with Kenya, under the PAMOJA proposal, have each chosen three venues.

They include Uganda-Kampala, Lira and Hoima, Tanzania-Dar e Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha wondering why the same can’t be done in Kenya.

The governor further noted that there is still time to reconsider the decision because the people of Western Kenya are waiting.