Founded in 1926, the Council for East and Central African Football Federations is the continent’s oldest regional football body.
It organises the annual Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup for senior national teams from member countries and Cecafa Club Championship for clubs from East and Central Africa.
Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, formerly Gossage Cup, is the oldest regional football tournament involving senior national teams. In recent years, however, it has fallen behind its peers in southern, northern and western Africa, whose clubs and national teams have dominated continental championships.
Cecafa-run tournaments have become less appealing for teams due to poor organisation and dearth of sponsorship and over-reliance on one sponsor, leading to teams shunning them.
This year’s Cecafa Club Championship which ended on Sunday in Kigali, attracted 16 teams. But it coincided with the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) that was held in Cairo, which overshadowed it.
The timing also saw most participating clubs from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo field second-string sides because their key players were held up in Afcon.
Kenyan champions Gor Mahia fielded a second-string team while Tanzanian giants Simba and Yanga did not show up. Clubs from Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi and Eritrea shunned the championship, forcing organisers to invite guest teams.
Cecafa officials, led by secretary-general Nicholas Musonye, must explore ways of reviving the championship to attract top teams and sponsors.
That requires visionary leadership and better organisation. Cecafa tournaments would then offer a good platform for clubs and national teams from the region to prepare for continental competitions and even win them with ease.