CECAFA Nile Basin tourney all set for kick-off
23 May 2014, 13:30
Nairobi - The inaugural CECAFA Nile Basin Cup kicks off Friday in Sudan with three fixtures spread out at two venues.
Ugandan representatives Victoria University plays Malakia FC from the troubled South Sudan at Al-Merreikh stadium in Khartoum City at 5:30pm before the hosts and stadium owners take on Police from Zanzibar Islands later at 8:00pm at the same venue.
Away from Khartoum in Shandi, homeboys Al-Shandi will host visiting Dkhill FC from Djibouti in a third fixture of the day to be played under floodlights.
CECAFA hails Sudanese govt
CECAFA Vice President Lawrence Mulindwa has urged teams to play their best games and observe discipline throughout the tournament. He hailed the Sudanese government for accepting to sponsor this event.
“As CECAFA we are grateful to the Sudanese government for accepting to sponsor this tournament. I urge the media to give it all the coverage it deserves” said Mulindwa who was addressing a press conference at Grand Holiday Villa on Thursday evening.
Musonye speaks out
During the same press conference, CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye refuted allegations that the tournament had any political strings attached.
“The tournament has nothing to do with politics. River Nile is the life line for millions of people [especially here in Sudan and Egypt] and as football stakeholders we have to make sure this water serves the population without any disturbances” said Musonye while responding to a question from the media.
About the withdraw of the two Egyptian clubs from the tournament, Musonye attributed it on the timing saying, the two visiting clubs had preferred to have the event pushed forward to July which wasn’t possible.
Mbeya City arrives Friday
Meanwhile Kenya’s AFC Leopards gets onto centre stage on Saturday when they take on Etincelles of Rwanda.
The match will be the second of the afternoon/evening – kick-off 8pm – at the Khartoum Stadium. At 5.30pm, Mbeya City, a fast rising side in the Tanzania Mainland Vodacom League who finished third in their just-concluded season will play Academie Tchite of Burundi. Mbeya is expected in Khartoum this Friday afternoon.
High profile clubs
The Kenyan Leopards and El Merreikh the hosts are the most high profile teams in the competition inaugurated by Cecafa [Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations] to give opportunity to more clubs to compete at outside their countries.
In Africa, only domestic league champions and their runners-up or winners of knock-out [Cup] competitions get the chance to play continental football – in the [Africa] Champions League and CAF [African Football Confederation] Confederations Cup.
The Sudan Football Association [SFA] and Cecafa were the brainchild of the Nile Basin Cup which gives opportunity to second or third placed teams in domestic leagues, or runners-up in the Cup competition, to have a taste of competition across the borders.
Somalia’s Elman misses out
Last minute travel hitches also caused the no-show of Somalia side, Elman. It was impossible to fly Elman from Mogadishu, through either neighbouring Djibouti, Kenya or Ethiopia, in time.
As a result, a competition draw was re-done and fixtures revised.
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