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Habineza refutes ‘unilateral bid’ for 2017 Nations Cup

THE Minister for Sports and Culture Joseph Habineza has denied media reports that Rwanda is planning to go it alone in bidding to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Minister was reacting to a story published in The East African newspaper in which he is quoted saying that Rwanda would make a unilateral bid instead of supporting a joint East African bid as earlier proposed by the Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya.

Habineza said that the only way for Rwanda to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations is if the country joins hands with the other regional countries—Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

“The only way we (Rwanda) can be involved in hosting the tournament (2017 Afcon) is when it is a joint bid with the other East African countries where each country can host one group. We can’t go it alone because we don’t have enough stadiums,” Habineza told this paper.

One of the major requirements for a country to stage the Africa Cup of Nations, is that it must have at least four stadiums fixed with natural grass—yet Rwanda, until now, has only one—Amahoro stadium. The other stadiums in the country have artificial playing turfs.

“We are now focusing on hosting the 2016 Chan and we want to make it a success. Our target is not Afcon, but if other countries of East Africa can work together, we can support them,” he noted.

Libya had won the bid to host Afcon but pulled out, citing the deteriorating security situation in the oil-rich North African state. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) later issued a statement inviting fresh bids.

The deadline for submission of bids is September 30.

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