EA Pamoja Afcon bid gets Museveni boost

President Museveni (C) receives the East Africa Pamoja bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

The President gave the clearest indication yet that he could be fully on board with the joint regional push to host the 2027 Nation's Cup finals 

President Museveni appeared to significantly get behind Uganda's bid to jointly host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals with Kenya and Tanzania on Wednesday.

In his State of the Nation address, the president - for the first time since the region expressed hosting interest - directly talked about tangible plans to prepare for the occasion.

Museveni talked about how the enabling environment has allowed both arts and sports to progressively develop before hitting the Afcon bid point home.

"You have seen how our youth like Cheptegei (Joshua) have excelled in sports," said the president.

"Since 1986, we have been struggling with economic recovery, expansion, diversification and transformation.

Deliberate focus 

"The talented sports youths have come up because of these general improvements. 

"With a bit more revenue that we have now, we shall focus deliberately on sports by building more stadiums and training facilities."

Museveni added: "It is good that the high altitude training centre at Teryet is now finished (the facility is not officially complete yet - editor). 

"These are just endozo (jaribu, fore-taste)." 

Then the moment: "It is good, therefore, that the East African countries, together, put in a bid for Afcon of 2027," said the president.

"Apart from Namboole and Nakivubo, we need more world class stadiums to be built. 

Namboole is currently under intensive renovation while the still-under-construction Nakivubo, whose complex accessibility remains a Caf red flag, has since had some seats fitted.

"It does not matter whether they are Government or private, as long as they are in Uganda," emphasised Museveni.

Huge shift 

This is clearest indication yet that the President could fully be on board with the joint regional push to host the 2027 Nation's Cup finals.

His speech Wednesday was a far more encouraging boost than last month when he received a delegation from the Sports Ministry and Fufa as they presented him the bid documents. 

Then, he first told tales of how sports is good for entertainment, health and discipline.

"Therefore," he concluded, non-committedly, at the time, "for East Africa to come together to invite the African Cup to come here is very good. It will promote our countries. Tourism will also increase. 

"However, we must take care not to forget the real way of becoming stable, which is wealth creation. 

"Yes, sports brings in money from some professional players but out of 100, how many will be professional and make money?

"Therefore, the children should play but also get time to create wealth in order to have money even after their time in sports."

Uganda will need two international standards stadiums, each with three Caf certified training grounds among other crucial requirements, to co-host. The same is required of Kenya and Tanzania.