NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – Kenya will host both the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and Kagame Club Championship this year, Secretary General Nicholas Musonye confirmed on Thursday.
Musonye said the Senior Challenge Cup will be held in November where Harambee Stars will be seeking to reclaim the title for the first time since 2013 when they last hosted the event.
The Kagame Cup which was earlier scheduled for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in June/July, will be held in December with Kenya being represented by Kenyan Premier League defending champions Gor Mahia and last year’s runner-ups Ulinzi Stars.
The dates are yet to be set as the regional governing body is working with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and potential sponsors to finalize the details.
“I believe Kenya will organize a good tournament compared to 2013 which was shambolic. The Cecafa Kagame Cup will be held in Kenya where the host country will be represented by Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars but we are looking at adding another third team from Kenya but that will depend on whether all invited teams will confirm participation,” Musonye said while making the announcement.
Musonye says the reason of altering the dates of the tournament to December is to give the regional clubs an opportunity to prepare for the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup, with Musonye saying it is high time a team from the region gets into the group stages.
“Beginning next year, the group stage of both the Champions League and the Confederations Cup will have 16 teams. We should be able to produce two or three clubs from this region into that stage. Having the tournament in December will give these teams an opportunity to prepare themselves,” Musonye offered.
However, this will pose a huge challenge to Kenyan clubs with the local calendar running between February and November.
With the club championship coming hot on the heels of the Senior Challenge Cup, it will mean the top two clubs which play in continental football the following year will have less time for rest.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General has said their struggles with finances is a thing of the past as they have managed to secure sponsorship for most of their programs next year whilst also revealing FIFA has agreed to finance its youth and women programs.
‘We have worked so hard and from next year, we will have more programs. We have sponsors ready for the tournaments and definitely, things will run better,” Musonye disclosed.
This comes even as a number of regional federation bosses are said to be preparing a move to oust Musonye who has been at the body since 1999.
But the experienced football administrator who is also the regional CAF coordinator in East Africa says he is not afraid of an ouster.
“I have been in CECAFA since 1999 and every year, there has been talk of a coup. I am not afraid, let them come. If someone is not happy with what I am doing, there is a process that should be followed,” added Musonye.
Kenya last hosted the Kagame Club championship in 2001 where Tusker beat Oserian on post match penalties to lift the title on home soil.
Musonye confirmed that the second edition of the Nile basin tournament that was scheduled for this year has been cancelled due to lack of logistics but remained positive Uganda will host the Under-17 tournament in 2017.