By Ahmad Muto
The much-anticipated development in regards to East Africa’s Pamoja Bid that set out to see the three original East African Community member states of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania host AFCON was granted on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 by CAF.
Sports state minister Peter Ogwang reacted: “Uganda’s East African Pamoja Bid, to host the 2027 AFCON finals alongside Kenya and Tanzania has been approved by CAF here in Cairo, Egypt. Eighteen out of 54 countries have hosted AFCON. None of the three East African countries has ever hosted. Our turn has now come!”
The news that has largely been warmly received has, however left a section of Ugandans and Kenyans with reservations.
Football fans shared some concerns, some laced with banter to capture what will possibly happen between now and start of the tournament, during, and after.
“The AFCON game between Egypt and Senegal has been delayed as they are waiting for Uganda police to locate and arrest Bobi Wine who had come to watch the match,” wrote one X user.
Another wrote: “The next documentary: The Cost of Hosting AFCON for KUT (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania). The hard truths, the deals made, the legacy left behind, the missing tickets, the cost of African football. Coming soon of BBC Africa Dec 2027.”
Meanwhile, Kenyans shared one concern – stadiums.
“Kenya hosting AFCON should be wake-up call of the ability in the country if we took sports and talents seriously. I hope we don’t embarrass ourselves with poor stadiums when it’s time.”
Another wrote: “This is big news. Now which stadiums.”
In November 2022 after Kenya confirmed it was considering submitting a joint bid for the prestigious African football tournament, Ugandans and Kenyans became its loudest critics. They cited challenges with infrastructure, especially stadiums, some suggesting perhaps offering accommodation to players is the only area they will succeed.
Some Kenyans argued that that energy should have been invested in athletics, a sport they have proved to be good at over time globally.