Voice of Sport

Scramble for Cecafa events; but Ahmed Haroun region captures flagship Challenge Cup

New committee promises overhaul of statutes and looks forward to exciting calendar after the successful Challenge Cup staged in Ethiopia


THE Cecafa flagship football tournaments, the Kagame Cup Club Championship and the Challenge Cup will this year be held in Zanzibar and Sudan respectively and amid renewed enthusiasm among the organisation’s member states the region will be looking forward to exciting, well organised and well funded events.

The Challenge Cup, for instance is awaited with bated breath at a new destination. The city of Al Obeid, a 600km flight south of Sudan capital Khartoum, is already in early readiness to, at the very least, host an entire Group programme. Governor of the region, Ahmed Haroun is renowned for having hosted a Cecafa [Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations] event in the most unlikely region.

Modern stadium

He was Governor of South Kordofan, a strife-torn region that borders the independent nation of South Sudan. Haroun had just completed the building of an ultra-modern 30,000 stadium in the state capital Kadugli where Group matches of the 2013 Cecafa Kagame Cup took place. The Governor has since been posted to North Kordofan where his robustness for sports expansion has followed him. He has put up an even better stadium in Al Obeid.

Cecafa secretary general, Nicholas Musonye of Kenya, ushered in the New Year in North Kordofan as guest of the Governor to launch a Sudan Youth Championship. Governor Haroun pledged more support for Cecafa and welcomed the organisation to stage more competitions in his region whenever their events came to Sudan. He said Cecafa was the backbone of football, and sport in general, and a key player in the region’s social and political cohesiveness.

Development

Meanwhile the Cecafa Secretary General said in Khartoum on Monday that the organisation had mapped out a five- year Strategic Plan with emphasis on youth, women football and technical Development. He said Cecafa would also overhaul its statutes to ensure that there is discipline at all levels within the 12- member association.

The newly constituted Cecafa executive committee had its first formal and full meeting in Khartoum on Monday. Somalia Football Federation President Abdiqani Arab Said was appointed the Vice Chairman of the committee headed by Sudan Football Association [SFA] President Dr Mutasim Gafar Sir Elkhatim who was elected last month. Leodegar Tenga of Tanzania, the immediate Cecafa Chairman was installed as Honorary Chairman.

Inauguration

The new executive committee was inaugurated in Khartoum on Monday in a ceremony witnessed by Sudan Minister for Sports and Youth, Several top Government officials and the Chairman of Saudi Arabia FA Ahmed Alharbi.

The Cecafa Exco then went ahead to confirm the staging of the following events in 2016:

  1. Cecafa Kagame Cup Club Championship – (Zanzibar) possible dates July/August 2016
  2. Men Under-17 Championship – (Uganda) possible date May 2016
  3. Women Championship – (Uganda) to be decided
  4. Men Under-20 – (Burundi) to be decided
  5. Cecafa Challenge Cup – (Sudan) November/December

Missed out

During last month’s Cecafa annual general meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia there was enthusiastic competition for the bids to host this year’s Cecafa events and some of those who missed out despite expressing will to host were Tanzania Mainland (for the Kagame Cup) and South Sudan for the Challenge Cup.

With a revamped executive committee, there was revived confidence that sponsors will come on board in future event. The hugely successful 2015 Cecafa Challenge Cup staged in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar and Hawassa was well sponsored under Walia Beer, the flagship beverage brand of international brewer Heineken.

Dr. Mutasim also said that Cecafa would sign a memorandum of understanding [MOU] with Saudi Arabian Football Association [SFA] for an exchange programme primarily on matters involving youth football. The new Cecafa chief pledged to revamp the body and ensure that it competes with the rest of the zones in Africa on equal footing.

– Additional reporting by Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar – Cecafa Media