World Cup 2010 Kenya Gears Up as a Stop Over Attraction

By: James G Kamweru

There is no event like the soccer world cup. All the others, the Olympics, world athletics championship, continental soccer derbies may come close but none ever gets quite there. The world cup is in a class of its own.

For the very first time, the 32 nations soccer finals will be held in Africa. South Africa will be the host country, and new football facilities and improvement of the existing ones are being put up to ensure the country is ready to host the world.

It is not lost on the other countries in the region that the world cup is too big an event for one country to handle single handedly. Teams will require to acclimatise, for the event before going to the actual venue. Countries that share the same conditions as the venue, have good sporting facilities, established infrastructure, media and accommodation will come in handy.

Of all the nations in Africa, none fits better in this category like Kenya. Apart from the 60,000 seater Moi international sports complex, the country also boasts of two other stadiums in the city, Nyayo and city stadiums that are international standard. The city stadium which has a long history as the home of dreams for soccer players and fans, is set for major renovations before 2010.

Kenya is known as a vibrant tourism destination. There are excellent accommodation facilities in Kenya that have over the years been used by the millions of tourists who visit the many tourist attractions in the country. The media here is vibrant. Indeed apart from south Africa, Kenya is the only other country in Africa, south of the Sahara where the internet and mobile phone can be found even in the remotest shopping centres.

Football stars will have it easy here. In fact the top African football teams prefer Nairobi as their first choice training ground. The indomitable lions of Cameroon and the flying eagles of Nigeria have in set camp here in the last two years in Kenya.

Apart from the main stadiums, there are institutions that could offer excellent training grounds for teams seeking for privacy. The central bank owned facility, Kenya school of monetary studies has everything that any world cup participating team would want. Their pitch is world class, their accommodation excellent, security provided by the paramilitary general service unit and its only a twenty five minutes drive from the international airport.

With a little upgrade, the Karen based KCB institute can also provide excellent training grounds. Teams that would not mind to use facilities outside Nairobi, will find Naivasha an attractive destination. Flower based companies have put up good facilities that will only need polishing up for use.
Tanzania have recently opened a sixty thousand seater in Dar-es-salaam. It will also be available as a training ground for world cup bound teams, and its marketing has already been initiated by the Tanzania government. Uganda and Rwanda will surely try to market their venues as well.

The world cup may be headed for South Africa, but Kenya and the East African region are already making preparations to catch on the biggest event ever to come to Africa.

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