Kenya will host this year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup this November, Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has confirmed.
Mwendwa told Nation Sport on Monday that the federation has been given the go-ahead to host the tourney by the Sports Ministry and the East African football heads.
Mwendwa said the tournament will be held at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru and Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa since all the other major venues will be undergoing renovation ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan).
He also revealed that the Cecafa Women’s Challenge, which was held last August in Uganda, has been scheduled for November this year in Rwanda.
“Cecafa is coming home. Kenya is the only Cecafa country that expressed interest in hosting the event and so we have been granted that wish. We are yet to fix the dates but it will happen in November,” said Mwendwa.
“Our women’s team will be going to Cosafa (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) next month and when they come back they will go to Rwanda for the Women’s tournament.”
“Before the tournaments kick off, we shall have an extraordinary General Meeting where we shall elect new leaders in the various posts.”
The announcement will be a welcome relief to the region’s football enthusiasts who have been starved of inter-country football action for the last two years.
Neither the Cecafa Senior Challenge nor the Cecafa Club Championship has been played in the last two years, yet the two tournaments were Cecafa’s premier products.
The Cecafa Under-17 and Cecafa Under-20 tournaments have not been played since 2009 and 2010 respectively, and Uganda holds the titles in both categories.
The Cecafa Nile Basin Cup, which was unveiled in 2014, was played only in its inaugural edition and nothing has ever been heard of since.
“We had a meeting with other football heads in the region, and nobody wants Cecafa to die. That is why it is important to host Cecafa this year and then Chan next year,” Mwendwa said.
The other challenge will be on the Kenyan Premier League limited to fit the remaining 260 SportPesa Premier League matches in the next two months to ensure the premier league ends by end of November as scheduled.
“We only need two stadiums to host Cecafa. So the agreement is that we don’t use any of the five venues that are earmarked for Chan. Those ones will be under construction. We shall use Nakuru and Mombasa,” he said.