HEADS are still rolling over Young Africans’ participation in the CECAFA 2018 Kagame Cup, as status qou remain unresolved.
While the 48 hours ultimatum given to Yanga by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia to revise their decision to withdraw from the tournament has elapsed, nothing has changed so far. Ironically, Yanga General Secretary, Charles Boniface Mkwasa said the club was also waiting for a response from TFF on whether they received their letter and clear them from participating in the tournament.
Yanga opted to pullout of the Championship few days after the regional body released a draw and a fixture of the tournament ahead of its kick off on June 28 in Dar es Salaam. The 12-team tournament climaxes on July 13 in Dar es Salaam.
The withdrawal of the Jangwani Street club from East Africa’s biggest club level tournament was confirmed by TFF Information and Communication Officer, Clifford Ndimbo, who said they received an official letter from Yanga on the decision.
Immediately, president Karia issued a directive for Yanga to reconsider their decision, giving them a 48 hours ultimatum. However, Mkwasa has insisted that they have no intention to reconsider their decision, saying they are facing a difficult and tight schedule due to the presence of tougher tournament after the completion of the Premier League.
He said they have decided not to participate in this year’s event so that they can have ample time to prepare themselves for CAF Confederation Cup match against Gor Mahia of Kenya on June 16th this year. Yanga was pooled in Group C alongside their rivals Simba, Ethiopian champions St. George and Somalia’s Dakadaha.
And, Yanga’s decision to pull out of the tournament means the expected fourth ‘Dar derby’ scheduled for July 5th this year has melted into thin air.
However, CECAFA Secretary General, Nicholas Musonye has said that the council was ready to get a replacement for Yanga. Musonye told Yanga to walk away if they want to, saying they have several teams that wants to come and play in this year’s Kagame Cup.
He cited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants TP Mazembe, Rwanda’s APR and also Vital ‘O’ from Burundi as teams in line to replace Yanga.
“If there is any other team that wants to follow Yanga, they can also withdraw. We don’t have time to sweet talk teams. Let those teams that want to go, go and we will still have a great tournament. I can assure you that.”
Cecafa will cater for all the team’s expense courtesy of a FIFA grant, the winner of the tournament will walk away with about US dollars 30,000.
Azam FC are the tournament’s defending champions. Full fixtures: Group A: Azam FC (Tanzania), Vipers SC (Uganda), JKU (Zanzibar), Kator FC (South Sudan); Group B: Rayon Sports (Rwanda), Gor Mahia (Kenya), Lydia Ludic (Burundi), Ports (Djibouti) and Group C: Yanga (Tanzania), Simba (Tanzania), St. George (Ethiopia) and Dakadaha (Somalia).