Kenya president Ruto unveils joint East Africa 2027 AFCON finals bid

NAIROBI, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's President, William Ruto, formally unveiled the country's joint bid with East African neighbours, Uganda and Tanzania, to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals on Monday in Nairobi.

(File photo: AFP)

Ruto noted the joint bid, dubbed "Pamoja" - the Swahili word for together - is part of the government's plan to harness skills and talent in sport.

"We also intend to launch a compelling bid that will succeed in winning us this critical opportunity to make Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania the epicenters of regional and continental footballing resurgence," the president said in an address in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Ruto declared that his Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts had been assigned to liaise with counterparts in Uganda and Tanzania to formulate "a winning bid so that the people of our three countries can look forward to participating in a successful 2027 tournament bid."

He expressed his confidence that East Africa would finally host the biennial continental showpiece for the first time ever, despite competition from rival bids from previous hosts, Algeria and Egypt, as well as Botswana.

Namibia, who had initially agreed to present a joint bid with Botswana, withdrew from the running in February, citing a lack of financial resources to host the tournament last held in Cameroon the previous year.

Ruto further pledged infrastructure development, enhanced monetization of sporting talent, and the reinstatement of Kenya's football into good standing as the key interventions his administration is keen on implementing to support the bid.

The Pamoja bid will be submitted to the Confederation of African Football on Wednesday.

Kenya was granted and later stripped of the rights to host the 1996 AFCON and 2021 Africa Home Nations finals.

CAF's demands for any country hosting its matches are that the venues must be near an airport, a level five hospital, and a five-star hotel, with the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, being the only facility approved to host continental matches in the region.