The on going CECAFA club championship that is set to be concluded today has showed quality in terms of competitiveness.
Many teams participating in the tournament have many senior players playing for their respective national teams and you look at the rhythm of the game is commensurate to the international standards.
For example game between Rwandan’s reigning champions APR against their Kenyan counterparts, SOFAPAKA had a lot of technical and tactical skills to watch and enjoy as a fan and learn for an aspiring coach or player.
Perhaps the Council for East and Central African football governing body (Cecafa) should be credited for their tremendous achievements especially in promoting football not only at the top competitive level but also at the grass root.
The basis of soccer development in the region should be centred on youth development. Having many young players participating in regional gives them the opportunity to develop into better players.
It is no doubt that Cecafa is trying to resort to youth football to raise the standards of the game in the region. On social and political basis, it is not so easy to organize football in the region that has been manned by many problems and intrigues in the past.
Cecafa is made up of eleven member countries and any member including its leaders and other government officials as well as the local population need to associate with the regional soccer authority to contribute to its development.
The body (Cecafa) has goodwill and patronage from its leaders; for example the on going two-week championships, which climaxes this afternoon has been sponsored by President Paul Kagame to a tune of $60,000 annually since 2002.
The 2009 CECAFA under-17 championship was sponsored by President Omar El Bashir and the Governments of Sudan.
The implication of the political connection between both governments of Sudan (North and South) indicates how football can be a channel through which political wrangles and intrigues can be solved.
During last year’s Under-17 championships, there was spread of the message of peace and reconciliation among the Sudanese people. People were streaming in Juba stadium cheering and mingling together as one Sudan.
An indication that a diverse country like Sudan can easily get united with a prominent sense of peace, harmony and belongingness through use of football.
In terms of football standards as compared to other regions of north, south and west, there is still a lot of work to do for the east and central Africa region. Although there is some remarkable improvement, a lot needs to be done in terms of management.
The fact that no Cecafa member state has ever participated in a World Cup creates a gap to fill and hard work to achieve this. All the time Africa is represented by teams from north and western region.
It’s not say that there are political and social intrigues in either many West or north African states but this has not hindered their progress in sports, particularly football.
Additionally, the African Cup of nations and the quarter final stages of the lucrative African champion’s league have been dominated by teams from west and north Africa.
Though there is still enough room for improvement, it should be highlighted that administrators of soccer around the Cecafa region need to apply scrutinized and well mechanized sporting ethnics in their management of football issues.
There is need to establish and promote professionally run soccer academies that will produce future stars on the continent and possibly beyond.
Rwanda was at the 2004 African Cup of the Nations and Clubs like El Merreikh, Al Hilal both of (Sudan) are competing favourable with top football clubs around the continent.
Even our own APR is starting to show signs of a team that mix it well with some of the top teams on the continent. Their three meetings with the reigning African champions, TP Mazembe have shown there’s just a minor difference between the two sides despite the vast gap in terms of financial muscle power.