NAIROBI, December 15- The Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) has called off this year’s Senior Challenge Cup due to lack of a host following an extraordinary general meeting held in Nairobi Sunday evening.
Ethiopia pulled out in the 11th hour throwing organisers into disarray with none of 11 member associations willing to step in for the annual regional football showpiece and oldest competition in Africa on short notice.
“We have decided to call off the tournament because we could not find a suitable host within that short period of time. It is a disappointment but at the same time we are proud of all the success we have had in the past,” Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said.
“We need to critically look into the hosting of our competitions in order to cut costs, re-brand Cecafa and enhance its marketing opportunities. We will also look into a new format and structure to make the competitions more vibrant and appealing,” he added.
Defending champions Harambee Stars Coach Bobby Williamson who has won the tournament five times during his previous tenure at the helm of the Uganda Cranes says he is disappointed that tournament has been called off.
“It is a big disappointment for not only Kenya but the region as a whole because it gave coaches a good platform to build our teams, give young players a chance to build their confidence. It was a competition of teams at almost the same level and it really gave a good opportunity to develop the game with countries gauging each other,” he noted.
“I hoped to use the tournament to build my team for next year because I had brought in a number of youngsters in the two friendly matches we have played since I came in and this was a great opportunity to build their confidence in an intense competition,” Williamson went on.
At the same time, the Cecafe regional heads unanimously agreed to back current FIFA president Sepp Blatter during the elections next year and endorsed Leondegor Tenga as sole candidate to retain his position in the CAF executive Committee during the elections in Cairo next year.
Jamal Malinzi (Tanzania), Sam Nyamweya (Kenya), Moses Magogo (Uganda), Vincent Nzamwita (Rwanda), Goc Chabur (south sudan), Reverien Ndikuriyo (Burundi), Abdiqaani Saed (Somalia), Tesfaye Gebreyesus (Eritrea), Juneidi Basha (Ethiopia) Ahmed Eltrifi vice chairman (Sudan) and Ravia Idarius (Zanzibar) are the regional bosses who attended the meeting.