Regional body eager to end World Cup dearth
THE Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) has launched an ambitious plan aimed at seeing the region represented at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
The initiative, announced early this week, is a partnership between the regional body and beer brewers East African Breweries Limited (EABL).
It starts with the brewers sponsoring this year’s Cecafa senior Challenge Cup taking place in Tanzania between November 27 and December 12.
The sponsorship is to the tune of $450,000 (about Rwf263m), and will see the tournament bring together 12 countries, including three guest sides in Ivory Coast, Malawi and Zambia.
The three, like the nine Cecafa countries taking part, want to use the tournament as part of their build-up to both the African Cup of Nations qualifiers resuming early next year and the African Championship (CHAN) in Sudan in March.
Cecafa members taking part include hosts Tanzania mainland, Zanzibar, defending champions Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.
The Cecafa general secretary, Nicholas Musonye, reckons that the shame of missing out on the recent Fifa World Cup in South Africa will never be repeated.
“Cecafa is the most active of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) zones and it is only fair that we grab at least one of the five World Cup slots reserved for the continent,” he said.
He said with the EABL sponsorship, Cecafa will endeavor to deliver a great tournament.
“The money we are getting from EABL will be directed to the teams so that they can produce their best,” he added.
The money will go towards airlifting teams and officials to Tanzania, accommodating them, local transport and prize money which is $30,000 (Rwf17.4m) for the winners, $20,000 (Rwf11.6m) for the runners up and $10,000 (Rwf5.8m) for the third placed team.
The guest teams will only compete for the money.
“Football in our region is now enjoying tremendous support; our fans are hungry for top quality football and, with this kind of support from Tusker, we will be able to stage a top class championship and grow football in the region,” Musonye said.
Meanwhile, this year’s Challenge Cup trophy will be taken on a six nation tour of the region before landing in Dar es Salaam for the tournament. The cities to be visited include Kampala, Juba, Kigali and Bujumbura.
Prior to the tournament, Cecafa will stage a two-day media and referees seminar.