Outgoing East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) president wants to see players from the region playing in some of the biggest leagues, especially in Europe.
Denis Obua belatedly made his position known when addressing his final press conference as Cecafa chief a day after his term of office came to an end last Friday.
Tanzania Football Federation president Leodgar Chilla Tenga has since been elected to replace Obua for a four-year term as head of the regional football governing body.
During his term, Obua, the former Uganda Football Federation president has presided over the most successful period by any Cecafa boss; Cecafa insider sources have put it.
Among his major success stories as his capacity to lure sponsors towards bankrolling all the regional tournaments at all levels. It was in his time that the U-17 championship was established, the first edition was played early this year in Burundi.
“We have a challenge to get our players in the big league especially in Europe. This we can only achieve if we have good leadership both within our federations and in Cecafa,” he said.
The Ugandan legend made the remarks while commenting on the bad times that some of the Cecafa member countries like Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya went through during his term of office.
He noted, “It has been tough with political unrest in Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, wrangles within federations like Kenya but I happy that we managed to play football.”
However, he also hailed the calmness and development demonstrated by member federations like Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Zanzibar and his own Uganda were he were it took a united front from his rivals led by the present Fufa boss Lawrence Mulindwa to oust him from office two years ago.
Obua’s inevitable need for another term of office wasn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t a sitting head of a local federation, a fact that comes into play when one puts up his name for election.
Sources in Dar es Salaam that attended Obua’s final press conference tell Times Sport that he said his team had worked hard to bring in sponsorship that enabled regional tournaments take place on schedule and hoped that whoever takes over will take Cecafa to the next level.
The new Cecafa chief, Tenga had been challenged by current vice chairman Ashebir WoldeGirgis, the Ethiopia FA president and his Sudan counterpart Kamal Shaddad
Tanga has been president of the Tanzania Football Federation since 2004 to date. He is also a member of FIFA Marketing & Media Advisory Board (from 2005 to date).
In September of last year, he was elected as a member of CAF Organising Committee for the African Cup of Nations. Between 2000 and 2001 he served as vice chairman of the Tanzania National Sports Council.
He also captained his country’s national football team between 1977 and l981 a period when Tanzania qualified for CAN 1980.
Somalia FA Secretary General Abdighani Said Arab led the race for the executive seats with 10 votes followed by Uganda’s Justus Mugisha with eight and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) and Fadoul Hussein of Eritrea with seven each.
Tenga nominated Fadoul his deputy and promised to work closely with all local federations, Caf and Fifa to take the beautiful in this region to ‘another level’.
According to the Cecafa constitution, the president serves for four years while the deputy and the other committee members serve for two years each.
Mr. Tenga hailed Sudan for qualifying for next year’s African Cup of Nations finals. Sources further tell us that he said it was important that more teams qualify in future.
He also tackled the issue of the region having the resources and talent to do well at both national and club levels.
He said the Challenge Cup was the showcase of the region’s football and hailed the secretariat for getting the GTV sponsorship which he said would go a long way in lifting the game in the region. GTV are sponsoring the senior Challenge Cup to the tune of $ six millions for four years.
Cecafa is the only region on the continent without a player playing any of the leading leagues in Europe. West Africa has the biggest number, followed by the North the South.