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All systems go for CECAFA

KAMPALA, Dec 29 – Things geared up for this year’s Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup after facilities for the event received a nod from sponsors on Monday.

Officials from CECAFA and sponsors GTV arrived here on Sunday and startedl inspecting facilities.

The team that was led by CECAFA secretary general Nicholas Musonye of Kenya visited hotels, venues and training grounds in both Kampala and Jinja to make sure that all was set for the Wednesday kick-off.

Musonye was particularly impressed by the hosts’ decision to accommodate teams and officials in four-star hotels saying it would put them in the right frame of mind for the tournament.

“At this rate, our next host has a major challenge,” remarked Musonye as he toured the Triangle Hotel in Jinja where the Kenyan and Sudanese teams would be accommodated.

At the Jinja stadium, workers were working around the clock to return the facility to international standards.

The facility that had been previously  run down and now spots new dressing rooms, a well trimmed pitch and a new set of public utilities that Musonye had demanded for while on an earlier trip here.

“This will definitely look good on camera,” remarked GTV official Paula Warren.

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Teams and officials continued arriving in Kampala on Monday for the Cecafa executive committee meeting which was due later in the day and the Congress due Tuesday morning.

Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan go into the tournament as the region’s representatives to the final phase of the World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualifying tournament.

For Kenya’s Harambee Stars, coach Francis Kimanzi was given the job with just over two weeks to go and he had the misfortune of training with half of his squad for most of the time.

The rest of his players were stuck in Tanzania where they represented their clubs at the Tusker Cup.
The young tactician has said he is giving the tournament the same respect he gave the World Cup qualifiers.

The region should also brace for yet another great show from guest side Zambia. The Zambians were enlisted into the tournament at the eleventh hour, following the withdrawal of Eritrea.

They were guests of the tournament in Addis Ababa two years ago, confirming their best ranking by winning the tournament.

Burundi has yet to win but was second to Ethiopia in 2004. They were fourth in 1999 and last year. This record speaks volumes about the tiny central African nation’s ability.

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