NAIROBI, Kenya, January 15 – The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) has urged member countries to make qualification for 2010 African Cup of Nations their main goal as they go into the final World Cup qualifying rounds.
Rwanda, Sudan and Kenya have made it to the final round of the qualifiers which start in March and Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye has urged them to be realistic in their objectives.
“Even though we would love to have a team from Cecafa in South Africa, we must be realistic. For me, all the three teams have a great chance of making to Angola but the World Cup is too soon and we are not ready for such a stage” said Musonye.
“To get to the World Cup, their respective governments would have to invest heavily and ensure that they are funded to the hilt and I am not sure they are wiling to do so,” he added.
He pointed out that they need to win all their home matches to stand a chance of even making it to Angola, “They must win all their home matches. Any dropped points at home could spell doom on and all their hopes for Angola,” he said.
Kenya is in Group B with Nigeria, Tunisia and Mozambique while Sudan is in Group 4 with Ghana, Mali and Benin. Rwanda will duke it out with Egypt, Algeria and Zambia.
At the same time Cecafa has announced plans to revive the region’s under 17 and 20 football tournaments.
Kenya will host the under 17 regional tournament in Nairobi in April, Uganda will host the under 20 championships in August while the women’s championships will be held in Zanzibar in October.
Speaking in Nairobi, Musonye said that the association made the decision to revive the youth competitions which were last held in 2006, in a bid to improve the quality of football in the region.
“We resolved during the Cecafa general assembly that we must revive and organise the junior tournaments. Already we have sponsorships for the under 17 and are working on the logistics of the competition,” said Musonye.
“This year we will have both championships in the same year but from 2010, they will alternate because holding them both in the same year would prove a financial burden to the member countries.”
Musonye added that members wising to host any Cecafa competition from 2010 will have to meet certain criteria.
“We had issues with stadiums in Uganda especially with Jinja which teams complained about and because of this; henceforth we shall require the bidding country to get a government guarantee on infrastructure. The federation shall also have to commit to having certain logistics in place before we award them the right to host an event,” he observed.
Musonye also announced that Cecafa will undergo major rebranding exercise in April this year.
“Cecafa has been around for so long and we want to change its face from what it is to something very unique and modern that is in line with its current status and at the same level with similar associations,” he said.