Kenya will host the Challenge Cup two years in a row if Ethiopia are unable to stage the competition in November next year.
The enthusiasm by Kenya’s football authorities to get more involved in staging international competitions, which they had ignored for about 15 years, comes on realizing that it is not so difficult to host them after all.
Football Kenya Limited (FKL) last Friday, told the Cecafa (Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations) congress meeting in Nairobi that they were ready to host the Challenge Cup again next year.
Ethiopia had said they would definitely stage the event in 2013 but indicated they would try to stage it next year if there was enough preparation time.
Fearful of the enormous responsibility, FKL initially doubted their abilities but on the eve of this year’s championship known by the sponsors’ name, Orange Cecafa Challenge, the local federation is now buoyant.
The efforts of Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye to mobilize support strictly inside Kenya have given confidence to FKL.
The Kenya Government, Orange and CAF (African Football Confederation) provided money to cover part of the budget. But hitherto unutilized support from Kenyan communities has contributed to much of the success so far.
In Western Province, for example, Mumias Sugar Company provides the playing venue for group “C” matches on their ground that has a superb playing surface. Defending champions Uganda played spectacular attacking football here on Sunday to drown Tanzania Mainland 2-0 in the second match of the opening day. Zanzibar had also blazed through a staggering 4-0 win over Burundi.
The matches were watched by a crowd that packed the 5,000 capacity terraces at Mumias Sports Complex Stadium. Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar were due to return there yesterday (Tuesday) for a battle that was expected to be fierce.
Mainland need to beat their compatriots in order to stay in the running for a quarter-final place. But it was a match-up that traditionally peps up the underdog Zanzibar more than their bigger brothers from the mainland.
“Undiscovered” facilities are the home of the Cecafa operations here in Western Province. All teams and officials are staying in Kakamega and commute, for 45 minutes under Kakamega’s Kenya Police traffic officer Solomon Adaje’s guidance.
Catholic Church institution, Bishop Nicholas Stam Apostolate outside Kakamega on the Webuye Road hosts all teams and about 130 members of the Cecafa fraternity.