CECAFA U-18 Kicks -Off In Kenya
By Our Reporter
The CECAFA U-18 Boys Championship finally kicks off this afternoon with a Group A match between Somalia and Rwanda at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu, Kenya.
Omar Ahmed, the Somalia coach has made it clear that they are determined to make a good start in the tournament. ” The team is well prepared and ready to start with a win, ” added Ahmed.
The Somalia team will include some players who featured in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-17 this year in Algeria.
But the Rwanda coach Baptiste Kayiranga has also talked about the importance of defending the Rwanda flag which will push his team to go out and get positive results. ” The team is ready and looking forward to making a good start in the group, ” said Kayiranga.
After the opening match hosts Kenya will take on Sudan in a match that promises to be a thriller. Salim Babu, the Kenya coach has made it clear that his players are ready for the challenge. ” We call upon the home fans to come and support the team, ” he added.
However, action in Group B to be played at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega will take place on Sunday with Zanzibar facing South Sudan, while Tanzania battle Uganda in the second match.
Yussuf Mossi, the CECAFA Competitions Director says they are excited about having the competition because it will prepare teams in the Zone to prepare ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-20 qualifiers next year.
The best two teams in each group will qualify for the semi final stage. The play-off for third place and the final will be played on December 8th, 2023 in Kisumu.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Kenya, Ababu Namwamba said they are prepared to successfully host two CECAFA tournaments.
” We are prepared to host a successful CECAFA U-18 Boys Championship and the Pan Africa Schools tournament. Secondly we wish to rally fans to Bukhungu and Kisumu Stadium to support their team, ” added Namwamba.
He made it clear that Kenya’s hosting and participation is intentional and in sync with the government manifesto of attracting and hosting elite competition to develop talent and promote Kenya as a destination of choice.
The Executive Director of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), Auka Gecheo thanked Kenya for accepting to host the CECAFA U-18 Boys Championship and the Pan Africa Schools tournament.
” We appreciate the commitment of the Ministry of Youth and Sport Cabinet Namwamba, and our partners FKF in hosting two CECAFA tournaments this year, ” added Gecheo.
Group A : Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda, Sudan
Group B : Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Sudan, Uganda