Organizers declares ground ready for AYC
The local organizing committee of the 16th Africa Youth Championship has confirmed and declared the ground ready for the ball to roll, the committee’s spokesman has said.
However, Joseph Sepp Blatter, the head of world football, who promised to be here for the event, has until today not yet confirmed whether he would really come, leaving the organizers guessing.
“Blatter promised to come for the tournament but did not give a specific date for his arrival. He may come for the opening ceremony or after, we’re not sure but hopeful,” admitted Jules Kalisa.
Blatter was last in Rwanda three years ago during the official inauguration of the Football House, which houses Ferwafa and the national football academy.
Meanwhile, with two days to go, foreign teams have already started arriving in Kigali for the continental championship that starts on Sunday, January 18 and run through February 1.
The local organizing committee, codenamed ‘COCAN’ has made sure it leaves no stone unturned in the last 10 months as they bid to put on a magnificent show in terms of organization.
The five man committee consists of officials from the Sports ministry and the football federation, Ferwafa. And as teams descend on Kigali for the historical event that is taking place on Rwandan soil for the first time, only the second time in the region after Ethiopia in 2001; the organizers have declared the ground ready and only waiting for the d-day.
“I can confirm that we’re 100 percent ready, that’s for sure. We’ve prepared everything to the last detail and only waiting for the tournament to start,” declared Kalisa.
He added, “And as the organizing committee, we’re glad to confirm that preparations are finished, and announce that everything is ready for the event.”
The two stadiums, Amahoro and Nyamirambo, which will be used for the matches are ready after undergoing extensive renovations in the last ten months.
The official also confirmed that the four training grounds at Kicukiro, Remera, Mumena and Gatenga are also ready after having artificial turfs laid there.
Nigeria first in
Chasing a record sixth title, Nigeria Flying Eagles were the first foreign team to arrive for the two-week long tournament and were followed by Ivory Coast.
The two West African rivals touched base last Saturday and were booked in Gorilla and Alpha Palace hotels respectively.
Nigeria came with a full strength squad made up mostly of Europe based players as they seek to retain the title, they surprisingly lost to Congo Brazzaville two years ago.
Three more West African, Ghana, Cameroon and Mali were expected to jet in the country last evening while Egypt and South Africa are anticipated to get here today.
Kalisa further stated that the Confederation of African Football, Caf is happy with the preparation work for the event.
He said, “Caf officials have been here since Tuesday, and we’ve been working together, putting final details where needed. They are satisfied with the work we’ve done.”
Host, Rwanda will open the competition against Mali at Amahoro stadium on Sunday before another cracker sees Ghana taking on arch rivals Cameroon in group A. Group B is made up of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Egypt.