A VETERAN sports journalist and an administrator at the Council for East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) as the Secretary General for so long time now, Nicholas Musonye has seen so much evolve in football circles around the region. 'Daily News' guest writer ANDREW ORYADA had an exclusive interview with him.
Qn: The Cecafa General Assembly made some changes in the line-up during the polls a week ago. What do you think about the new entrants and what lies ahead of them?
Musonye: I think the elections were held in a good spirit although some candidates did not show up. The new entrants onto the Executive Committee are football loving people and I am confident they will deliver and not come in to politic.
Qn: What is your comment about Djibouti's Hussein Fadoul who is reportedly under house arrest back home and failed to make it for the General Assembly where he was challenging the incumbent Leodegar Tenga?
Musonye: I have no facts about what transpired in Djibouti and I take it as mere rumour. However, I think Fadoul should have had the courtesy of information the secretariat that he will not be making it because of some problems beyond his control. It is therefore not right that Fadoul has decided to keep silent all this time.
Qn: The Cecafa region has not done well in women football and there are even no tournaments in the region. What is your thinking of the way forward since FIFA even gives federation grants that emphasis a lot on women football development?
Musonye: Our members have totally left women football to die in their countries because they are not giving it attention. The onus is on the member countries to develop women football because FIFA even supports them. It is not easy for us to organise women football tournaments because we might end up with a scenario where we don't have teams.
Qn: With only one team Sudan qualifying for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations can you say surely football in the region has developed?
Musonye: To some extent we have come a long way and improved because the quality has improved and teams in the region are playing better football. We only need to learn how to plan better for matches in different tournaments. Uganda was also close to qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations but simply unlucky to go through.
Qn: Many Nations within the Cecafa region have continued to struggle to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, Olympics and the World Cup. What do you think is the problem and what is the solution?
Musonye: Our biggest problem in the region is that teams are not focused. They walk onto the pitch and you think they have gone for a music concert instead of getting their brains to serious business which involves team work. The solution is to get better organized right from the federations, the technical teams and the players themselves.
Qn: Do you think bringing in foreign European coaches is a solution to solving technical football problems in the Cecafa region?
Musonye: Yes bringing foreign coaches is partly a good solution to improving the standards in our region, because most of our players believe a lot in seeing the white skin in order to play good football. Sometimes, however, bad a foreign coach might be, his presence brings belief and difference attitude among the players and staff.
Qn: Some countries like Eritrea have opted out of Cecafa events at the last minute. Don't you think such tendencies are not helping the region in a way?
Musonye: As Cecafa we are definitely moving forward and it's only the likes of Eritrea having such issues. It's an internal problem they have in Eritrea and they must try to sort out because some of their players always opt to disappear when they come for tournaments. Last year after the Cecafa event some of the Eritrean players disappeared in Dar es Salaam and refused to go back to Asmara.
Qn: Since football has become big business worldwide, I think Cecafa is not doing enough on the public relations side to get as many fans to watch matches. What is your comment on this observation?
Musonye: I admit we have not done so well in that area but partly because of limited funds. Most times sponsors want to handle their PR focusing on their brands and market. But we shall be more vigorous with the PR of events if many of our budgets catering for this is left intact and given to us to handle.
Qn: When do you to call it a day and shift your brilliant management skills to some other sectors since you have been in Cecafa for a very long time?
Musonye: I am determined to bow out come the General Assembly in 2013. I will leave and go to look after my cows or even join politics if he crosses my mind then.