Nairobi, Dec 1: Kenya says it will not apply to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stripped Cameroon of the rights to stage the tournament and announced that a new bidding process would be opened.
CAF officials on Friday opted to reopen bids to host the tournament, which will be staged in June for the first time ever, after several inspection teams reported that Cameroon still had serious organizational issues to address.
"Having considered that a simple postponement of the tournament was impossible because of CAF's contractual commitments, and the importance of maintaining the competition calendar, the CAF Executive Committee decided that the next edition of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations could not be held in Cameroon," said a statement signed by CAF president Ahmad Ahmad on Saturday.
"This decision, without appeal, will mean that CAF will now initiate an open and urgent call for new host country bids to ensure AFCON 2019 takes place next summer. CAF will ensure that a new host is in place by December 31, 2018, and it will communicate openly and transparently on the process and subsequent decision."
However, Nick Mwendwa, chairman of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), said that Kenya will not bid to host the tournament.
"No, Kenya will not be throwing its hat in the ring," Mwendwa said, adding that the country would instead focus on qualifying for the AFCON finals.
Kenya currently sit atop AFCON qualifying Group F, and are close to ending their 14 year absence from Africa's premier international tournament. (UNI-Xinhua)