Friday, July 24, 2009

African August attractions

It looks like the Glo Top 4 - a competitive post season tournament that pits the top four teams against each other - would not be the hottest thing in Africa's post season.

Apart from the MTN 8 Wafa Wafa that's also getting southern Africa on hooks (starts 4 August), there'll be the CECAFA Youth Championship as well. This is the 'younger brother' of the more famous CECAFA Cup - this year's ended with a surprise.

So, the CECAFA Youth Championship. It's the second edition of the tournament which is a spin-off of its more prestigious elder brother. And although originally scheduled for Kenya, the east Africans simply dont have the cash to take it through.

Meaning that Sudan will do the hosting of the 8 countries - Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar and Nigeria (invited)

All teams had better brace themselves for world class opposition to take place in Khartoum and Juba (and maybe Kessala).

Two-time world champions Nigeria were invited as the special guests to add a competitive edge to the event.

CECAFA Secretary, Nicholas Musonye:

“Nigeria had been invited in line with our policy to raise the standards of the game in the region.

“Nigeria has one of the best under-17 talents in the world. At this level, their football put the likes of Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha and Sunday Oliseh on the world map.

When Nigeria play in our tournament next month, they will be serving warning to youth in our region that football at this level is no kids’ stuff.”

Currently, there is a Kenya under-17 team in place, having been selected for the nationwide Copa Coca Cola tournament a few months ago. Later, the all-star team played in a tournament in South Africa and only recently participated in another international tournament in Bahrain.

The same team is expected at the CECAFA tournament to kick off in Sudan on August 12.

All 11 CECAFA member countries are expected in Sudan and a tune-up to the organization of the event is going on during the ongoing regional club tournament in this country.

It will be the first time ever that a major international sports event will take place in the semi-autonomous Sudanese region ravaged by war for decades.

The Unity Government of Sudan is giving CECAFA Sh30 million towards hosting of the tournament and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is also assisting.

Now that's an encouraging piece of news from Sudan!