IT is a big relief that Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA) has regained life bringing back its historic Senior Challenge Cup altogether.
Its comeback will be officially launched in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the venue of the Senior Challenge Cup scheduled to kick off from November 25 to December 9.
Tanzania Mainland team, Kilimanjaro Heroes are among the participants, according to the official conformed released yesterday by Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).
This was confirmed yesterday by the Acting General Secretary of Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Wilfred Kidao during a press briefing hosted at the federation’s headquarters at Karume Stadium in the city.
“We have confirmed about our participation in the upcoming CECAFA tournament and our team is ready for the competition,” Kidao said.
Adding, Kidao said because most of the players who form Kilimanjaro squad play in the Mainland Premier League, it is likely that the current timetable will be affected since it does not include the CECAFA tournament hence a need to redraft it is necessary.
“We only received confirmation from CECAFA secretary last week that the competition is on this year after we had already prepared our league timetable,” he said.
According to Kidao, countries which will compete in the tournament are Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, South Sudan and two guest states from Southern Africa.
Also, Kidao confirmed that Tanzania will host the CECAFA-CAF under 17 competition from August 11-25 next year whose purpose will be to find the CECAFA team which will represent the zone in 2019 Africa Youth Championship (AYC) to be hosted in the country.
He said CAF has made some changes whereby countries which will compete in the 2019 under 17 Afcon will be identified from their respective zones that is why the zone of CECAFA competition will take place in Tanzania, a thing he described as an added advantage to the country.
“This competition will help us to identify and rectify some shortfalls which will emerge ahead of the 2019 hosting of AYC,” he said.
In his words, Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania Premier League Board Boniface Wambura said his board will meet shortly to adjust the current Mainland Premier League timetable to accommodate all International games.
In retrospect, CECAFA the MoU has been signed between CECAFA, COSAFA and North Zone (UNAF), to further promote the zone football, a move which has led Zimbabwe and Libya to confirm participation in this year’s Challenge Cup.
“In this regard, we wish to confirm that as per the MoU signed between CECAFA, COSAFA and North Zone (UNAF), Zimbabwe and Libya will be in Nairobi as guest participants,” said CECAFA in its website.
This means we shall have a total of 12 countries taking part in the tournament. They are:- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Libya.
Before the Challenge Cup, CEFAFA will hold the Ordinary General Assembly and a symposium to chart the way forward for the zone. Kenya will host the 2017 edition of the CECAFA Senior challenge cup with three venues already identified to host the championship.
This is welcome news for Kenya especially after being stripped the rights to host CHAN following the decision by CAF Executive.