The Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA) has pushed forward the start of the regional U-23 Challenge Cup to July 17th.
Auka Gacheo, the CECAFA Executive Director said on Monday that the changes have been made because of some challenges including COVID-19 situation in some member nations.
“After a meeting held on Monday together with general secretaries of member associations we have decided to make adjustments on the dates for the tournament and now it will start July 17th. We shall decide on when the event ends depending on the final confirmations for teams to participate,” added Gacheo.
He made it clear that the change waso necessitated by the fact that some Member Associations have gone into lockdown due to COVID-19 and are struggling to get government approval to travel to the event, while the South Sudan team’s technical bench and some of their players are currently quarantined in Doha, Qatar after attending the FIFA Arab Cup and are due to travel back on the 7th of July.
“We also have the challenge of the League in Tanzania still ongoing and will end on July 18th after which some of their key players will only be available to travel. So we found it necessary to make changes to be able to accommodate everyone,” he said.
Morley Byekwaso, coach of Uganda’s U-23 team was happy with the changes saying his team had not yet got enough time to prepare. “I am glad that this extension for kick-off of the tournament will give my team enough time to prepare,” added Byekwaso.
Isayas Jira, President of the Ethiopia Football Association (EFF) told Sport News Africa that they are very prepared to host a successful tournament.
The Member Associations that had already confirmed participation in the CECAFA U-23 Challenge Cup include; Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Zanzibar, Eritrea, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi and hosts Ethiopia. The DR Congo U-23 team will also participate as guests.
Last year CECAFA also because of the challenges caused by COVID-19, the regional body only managed to stage the U-17 and U-20 Challenge Cups that took place in Rwanda and Tanzania respectively.
Andrew Jackson ORYADA Snr