NAIROBI, Kenya, July 22 – Kenyan titleholders, Gor Mahia will open their quest to win their first Cecafa Club Championships in 29 years against Kampala Capital City Authority when action gets underway on August 8 in Kigali, Rwanda.
K’Ogalo will then face Burundi’s Flambeau de l’Est, hosts APR and Telecom of Djibouti to round their five-team tricky Pool B assignment according to fixtures released by Cecafa secretary general, Nicholas Musonye, Tuesday.
Gor will be seeking revenge against the Rwandese who hit them 6-1 on aggregate at the 2009 CAF Confederations Cup in a group where three will qualify for the quarters.
Speaking to the press, Musonye tipped Gor, who have complained about the timing of the two-week regional tournament that ends on August 24, to impress.
“I know what Gor can do even in a short notice because I have been with them for many years and I know they are well prepared. I want to see then go far because they have not played in the championship since I became secretary general.
“I want to see them in good spirits and I will ensure they play well so that they give me a good image in Kigali,” Musonye told Capital Sport.
The cash-strapped domestic champions are struggling to string together a squad to sustain their push for the crown in the second leg of the Kenyan Premier League with head coach, Bobby Williamson, suggesting the Cecafa tourney should have been held at the end of the year.
Musonye also declared all 14 clubs eligible had confirmed participation including defending champions Vital ‘O’ of Burundi in the annual tournament that will be held in Amahoro and Nyamirambo stadiums.
The Secretary General added organisers are on the verge of making the regional showpiece even bigger as they moot the introduction of Cecafa Champions League in two years.
“We are assessing all our competitions to form a strong league so that our top clubs are engaged in football to aid progress in African competitions.
“We don’t want to be in hurry for the introduction of the Champions League and that why we have given ourselves two years to ensure we don’t interfere with the CAF programmme,” he announced.
Southern Sudan’s Atlabara will take on KMKM from Zanzibar while Rwanda’s Rayon Sport face Tanzania giants Young Africans alongside the Gor match on the opening match day.
Musonye declared they have five teams on standby in case any pulls out with the deadline for arrival in Kigali set for August 6.
The winner will receive Sh2.6m (USD30, 000) while runners up and third will walk away with Sh1.75m (USD 20,000) and Sh876, 000 (USD10, 000.
Group A: Rayon Sport (Rwanda), Young Africans (Tanzania), Coffee (Ethiopia), Atlabara (South Sudan) and KMKM (Zanzibar).
Group B: APR FC (Rwanda), KCC FC (Uganda), Flambeau de I’Est (Burundi), Gor Mahia FC (Kenya) and Telecom (Djibouti)
Group C: Vital’O (Burundi), El Merriekh (Sudan), Police (Rwanda) and Benadir (Somalia)