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Nile Basin, U-23 added to Cecafa menu

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STARS-ERITREANAIROBI, Kenya, April 24 – The Cecafa Nile Basin Cup Winners Cup and Under-23 tournaments have been added to the regional football calendar by the governing body.

Nile Basin competition will feature teams that finished second or won their respective domestic cups in the 12 member countries while the September Under-23 tourney is aimed at getting Cecafa teams ready for the Rio 2016 Olympics with both events running in Sudan.

The two events that will run annually join the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and Club Championships on the regional football menu.

GOtv Shield winners, AFC Leopards, will represent the country at the inaugural Nile Basin Cup that runs from May 20 to June 5 with SC Victoria University and Azam FC representing Uganda and Tanzania.

“This year we are spreading our competition across the region and we have lined up four tournaments despite the fact we have a tight schedule which has the FIFA World Cup.

“We have tried to squeeze our events so that we run our programmes as much as possible and enable our teams and clubs to play football at any level,” Cecafa Secretary General, Nicholas Musonye, said Thursday during the launch of the 2014 calendar.

“The purpose of introducing new competitions is to enable our teams improve on performance. It is our responsibility as Cecafa to look for more competitions for our teams.

“All our teams are out of the CAF Champions League and Confederations cups which is not a very good scenario so we are trying to reverse it by having many competitions and engaging our teams to the highest level,” the regional body boss added.

He continued: “It creates a bad sign of football in this region and it’s very sad when all the 12 countries have no team in the group stage. You saw how Gor Mahia and Leopards were turned round like amateurs and yet these are big teams.”

The Secretary General confirmed this year’s Senior Challenge Cup will take place in Ethiopia in November and December.

“Our delegation will visit Addis Ababa after the World Cup to finalise arrangements and sponsorship,” Musonye underlined.

This will be the first time for Ethiopia to host the event since 2006.

Rwanda will host the Club Championship in August that is usually sponsored by country’s President Paul Kagame with TP Mazembe and Vita Club both from DRC Congo taking part as guest teams.

“This year’s Club Championships will be a big one since it will be part of the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide and we must stand with the people of Rwanda,” the secretary general underscored.

Kenya will be represented by Gor who were crowned last season’s champions for the first time in 18 years.

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