Uganda’s home based football stars and Cranes fans had fantasized a short and familiar trip to neighbors Kenya for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), scheduled for 12 January to 4 February 2018 but not anymore.
Morocco will replace Kenya as hosts, organizers, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced on Sunday.
They replace Kenya, who had their rights to host withdrawn by Caf due to a lack of preparation.
The candidacy of Morocco was preferred to that of Equatorial Guinea, another country to have submitted a valid application.
A long trip to Marrakech or Casablanca, which is approximately 5,330 kilometer away from Entebbe, would have tested their resolve after more than one stopover in Addis Ababa or Dubai.
Local FA president Moses Magogo has already criticised the nature of cross Africa’s continental flights especially for poorly funded football nations like Uganda.
The awarding of the tournament to Morocco also benefits Egypt, who were awarded Morocco’s place – now freed up as hosts – after being initially knocked out by their fellow North Africans in qualifying.
It will be Egypt’s first appearance in the competition.
Kenya’s preparations were deemed unsuitable for the biennial 16-team tournament – which runs from 12 January to 4 February 2018 – leading them to be stripped of the hosting rights last month.
Morocco have not hosted a senior continental competition since the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations.
They were due to stage the Nations Cup in 2015, but lost the hosting rights, after expressing fears over the spread of the Ebola virus.