The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) on Wednesday confirmed this year’s Senior Challenge Cup will be held in Kenya from November 25 to December 9.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa said Kakamega, Kisumu and Nakuru have been designated to provide venues for the 12-nation event while Nairobi and Machakos will be put on stand-by.
“This year’s competition will have Libya and Zimbabwe as the guest teams replacing Djibouti and Eritrea who have been dormant in international assignments and requested to be excluded,” Mwendwa said at a press conference at FKF headquarters in Kasarani.
It was the first official joint press conference between FKF president Mwendwa and Cecafa general secretary Nicholas Musonye.
“We couldn’t have it in Nairobi since Nyayo is undergoing renovation while Kasarani has been put on hold for a function. We want to use football to pacify the nation after a hot political environment. We also want to promote friendship among people of different divide within this region,” Mwendwa said.
He added: “We’ve the assurance of the government who will fund a proportion of the estimated budget.”
The federation boss revealed Herbert Mwachiro would head the tournament’s Local Organising Committee (LOC).
Musonye assured the region of safety during the event in the aftermath of the highly divisive repeat presidential elections.
“We are promising a credible tournament with beefed up security. People will be surprised at how peaceful it will be in the chosen venues. Kenya has never had a problem of security and football is a unifying movement. Expect to see both sides of the political parties mingling with ease.”
Musonye further said: “As Cecafa, we’ve engaged sponsors and broadcasters whom we shall reveal in due course. We want this year’s edition to bring back the good memories the tournament has had from the days of Gosage cup.”
Kenya last hosted the tourney in 2013, beating Sudan 2-0 in the final to lift the trophy.
Apart from Kenya, Libya and Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zanzibar, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Uganda are the other participating nations.
Uganda are the reigning champions.