Cecafa chief bemoans ‘neglect’

The secretary general of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) has launched a scathing attack on the region’s politicians for “neglecting” football.

The secretary general of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) has launched a scathing attack on the region’s politicians for “neglecting” football.

Nicholas Musonye reckons failure by his region’s teams to qualify for past World Cup finals or win the African Nations Cup is the price being paid for a lack of government support.

Asked about the current state of football in the 11-member region, Musonye said: “There’s no doubt that governments in our zone have been neglecting football and our results show that.”

“Apart from President Kagame [of Rwanda] who takes a personal interest in sport, we lack government patronage in our zone.”

In comments likely to send a chill down the spines of many bigwigs at Fifa, the combative Cecafa chief told BBC Fast Track in Nairobi that football cannot be de-linked from politics.

Football’s world governing body has strict statutes that forbid government influence on the administrative matters or elections of its member nations.

In recent years, Guinea, Niger, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya have all run into trouble with Fifa over this issue.

But Musonye said it is naive to expect African football federations to function effectively without government support and the political influence that comes with such assistance.

“In my view, some people argue wrongly that politicians should stay out of football because politicians are also fans - and you can’t deny them their right to watch the game.

“The simple truth is that it’s impossible to run football in Africa without government support and politicians run government.

He said: “It depends on the kind of politician; if it’s a benevolent politician, well and good. If he’s malevolent, kick him out.

“We have dealt with politicians in Cecafa and we’ve prospered.

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