Confederation of East and Central Africa Football associations (Cecafa) secretary Nicholas Musonye has lauded Burundi’s efforts to host the Under-17 Challenge Cup in April.
At the same time, Cecafa has handed Kenya the hosting rights for this year’s Senior Challenge Cup for the second straight year even though Zanzibar had expressed interest to organize the annual competition.
Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Machakos, Kakamega and Narok counties are bidding to host the games of the tournament which Kenya won last month by beating Zanzibar on post-match penalties in the final.
“Last year’s tournament was a success on several fronts. It offered Uganda and Rwanda a platform to prepare for the (Africa Nations Championship) Chan games and I am certain they will, alongside Sudan, adequately represent the region in Morocco,” Musonye said.
Also, either Tanzania or Zanzibar are in line to replace Djibouti as hosts of the Cecafa Kagame Cup for clubs this year after broadcast rights partner Azam TV expressed reservations on having the games in Djibouti City.
Musonye spoke to Nation Sport Wednesdayfollowing a week-long inspection tour of the venues in the tiny East African country of Burundi.
The annual Cecafa congress, sitting held in Nairobi last November, named Burundi as host of this youth tournament, and President Pierre Nkurunzinza has since been spearheading the renovation and construction of three stadiums in Ngozi, Muyinga and Gitega.
The Head of State, who also is a renowned football fan and player, told Musonye: “We are almost ready for the games and I wish to really commend Cecafa for investing in youth football.
“Our fans love football, just wait and see how they will fill the stadiums. Next, we will be looking to host the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.”
Musonye added: “I am shocked and excited with the work I am seeing here (in Burundi). These are good facilities, small-standard stadiums of between 6,000 to 10,000 seater with a lovely surface.”
This youth tournament is also in line to benefit from the recently approved Sh100 million Fifa funding for women and youth football in this region.