•The 2027 could change everything for us, and propel our stature on the world stage to a new peak.
•Kenya has the opportunity to shine as one of the co-hosts of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2027 alongside Uganda and Tanzania.
Football is a game of moments; it rewards those who make the most of their moments with victory and greatness.
Afcon 2023 in Cote d"Ivoire will live in our collective memory long after the final whistle was blown last weekend.
We will remember the football; we will remember the underdogs who took their moment and felled almost all the Goliaths of African football. We will remember the stadiums, the shiny new venues spread across the Cote d"Ivoire, and particularly the Allasane Outtara Stadium in Abidjan magnificent, modern, world-class venue.
There can be no doubt that Cote d’Ivoire got the infrastructure right. They struggled at the beginning of the tournament with ticketing logistics and getting fans into the stadia, but overall, they have raised the bar wonderfully in terms of infrastructure building not just new stadia but roads and upgrading airports and hospitals as well. This is the work of a host nation and the Ivorians made the most of their moment.
Kenya has the opportunity to shine as one of the co-hosts of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2027 alongside Uganda and Tanzania. This event could be a big moment for East African football, possibly the biggest in our history.
The 2027 could change everything for us, and propel our stature on the world stage to a new peak. But to host well, we have to deal with problems that need our immediate care and precise teamwork.
First and foremost, it is extremely important to hold free, fair and all-inclusive Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections this year. A visionary leadership that can manage and coordinate such an important event is fundamental for success.
FKF must be organised, knowledgeable and focused to make sure that the preparations are efficient, well-coordinated and world-class.
Secondly, the sustainable construction and rehabilitation of the requisite infrastructure to international standards is not only a requirement of hosting the football extravaganza but a fundamental step in the administration of the game post-Afcon 27.
By the time we are done with Afcon, we must gift ourselves sporting facilities that will last for generations and spark new life into our game. Under-utilization of sports facilities is one of the most prevalent challenges that face host countries. It would be a shame to sink billions of shillings into white elephant projects.
Thirdly, it takes a whole nation to host a continental showpiece. Pulling this off will demand the best of all of us: The government, FKF and all football stakeholders, the private sector, fans, media, Caf, and Fifa. We must make sure players, fans and media are comfortable, safe and above all enjoy their time here. This demands collaboration, unity of purpose and a shared willingness to do what it takes to deliver.
Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to the growth of our game. Afcon 2027 should be remembered long after the event is over. We must invest in youth programmes, train coaches, and build grassroots football structures that will help Kenyan football grow in the long run and have a lasting effect on the sports scene in our country.
Afcon 2027 can be the turning point Kenyan football has been waiting for, it can be the moment that transforms our football, but we must recognise the opportunity and make the most of ‘the moment.’
—Hussein Mohammed is the CEO, Extreme Sports Ltd