CECAFA Club And Youth Championships Switched To Sudan, Kenya To Host Senior Challenge

Sudan and Kenya have come to the rescue as Uganda cancels...
Sudan has sensationally agreed to host and sponsor the East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) club championships and youth under-17 tournament after Uganda developed cold feet.

The club championships will take place between June 30 and July 12 in Khartoum and Port Sudan while the under-17 tournament will kick off in August in Juba.

The CECAFA secretary general, Nicholas Musonye, told the press in Nairobi yesterday that Uganda - who were earlier scheduled to host the tournaments - cancelled their bid after the funds slated for the tournaments were diverted elsewhere.

According to AFP, the Government of Sudan agreed to take over the championships as one of the ways of solidifying their rather shaky peace treaty between the North and the South parts of the country that has been ravaged by civil war for many years.

"The government of Sudan is committed to the promotion and willing to invest heavily in sports throughout the whole country," Musonye told AFP.

"They have accepted to finance the staging of the two events to the tune of one million dollars (78 million shillings). It is a big boost for the sport." "We have, in turn, increased the prize money from 60,000 dollars (Ksh46.7m) to 100,000 dollars (Ksh7.8m) of which the winners will pocket 5,000 dollars (Ksh4 m)." added Musonye.

It will be the first major sporting event to be staged in the southern part of the country since the signing of the treaty in January 2005 which brought an end to the 20-year-old civil war.

Sudan is enjoying a footballing renaissance with their two top club sides, Al Hilal and Al-Merreikh, reaching the group stages of the African Champions League and the national team in the hunt to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Musonye also confirmed that Kenya will now host the CECAFA Senior Challenge.

The tournament that involves the national teams of the East and Central Africa nations will kick off between November 27 and December 12 in Nairobi.

James Momanyi, Goal.com