NAIROBI, Kenya, April 20 – Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Sofapaka have been drawn with Uganda Revenue Authority, Simba and defending champions ATRACO for next month’s Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Club Championships.Heartland FC of Nigeria will be making its debut while TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be making its second appearance in a tournament to be held from May 15-29.
“We had received so many applications from clubs and we settled on Mazembe who are the CAF champions and Heartland who were number three,” said CECAFA secretary Nicholas Musonye.
“We wanted to expose players in this region to football at a higher level which is why we have invited this clubs,” he added.
Musonye promised that this will be on of the best organised tournaments in recent years and have ceded to the Rwandese government’s request for a third invitational team hence the inclusion of Rayon Sport.
“The Rwandese government and local companies will undertake full sponsorship of the championship to the tune of $1 million (Sh78 million). This amount will cover air tickets for all teams, referees and officials, accommodation and prize money,” said Musonye.
CECAFA will release the tournament fixtures within the next fortnight.
Sudanese sides including last year’s finalists and two time champions Al Merreikh are conspicuously absent from the tournament.
“The absence of Sudanese sides is something I don’t want to discuss now,” said CECAFA secretary general Nicholas Musonye.
“You know also they are currently having elections so there are other issues they are dealing with,” he added.
Musonye also revealed that Kenya will be hosting two regional age grade tournaments this year.
Group A: APR (Rwanda), TP Mazembe (DRC), Vitalo (Burundi), Telkom (Djibouti)
Group B: Rayon Sports (Rwa), St. George (ETH), Heartland (Nigeria), Mafunzo
Group C: ATRACO (Rwa), Sofapaka, URA (Uganda), Simba (TZ)