6 June 2012

East Africa: Kagame Cup Kick Off Remains a Mystery

WHILE regional teams have stepped up their preparations for the 2012 CECAFA Kagame Cup, the East and Central Africa's biggest club tournament, the date of the event which is set for Dar es Salaam is yet to be announced.

The event was tentatively scheduled for June 21 to July 5 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam for a third year running, but the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) reportedly cancelled the dates until further notice.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer Boniface Wambura told the 'Daily News' yesterday that the federation was still waiting for reports from CECAFA on the new kick off dates. "We have not been informed on the new dates and we are still waiting... probably the tournament will kick off early July," Wambura said.

Both local and other regional clubs have been busy strengthening their squad ready for the money spinning club championship which is in its 38th year. Defending champions Young Africans are expected to go to residential camp on June 14, according to the club's Secretary General, Celestine Mwesigwa, while Mainland champions Simba have been undergoing off-camp training in the city since last week minus some of their key players who are with the national soccer team Taifa Stars for the 2014 World Cup and 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Azam FC, who finished second last season and secured a place in the regional tournament for the first time are planning to camp in South Africa for at least two weeks to keep shape for the tournament.

Head coach of defending Kenyan Premier League champions Tusker FC who will be Kenya's representative at the tournament, Sammy Omollo is exuding confidence ahead of the tournament and expects a good performance by his team.

Tusker last won the tourney in 2008 against Uganda's URA, under former Harambee Stars coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee. The brewers have resumed training after a one week break after the conclusion of the first leg and they will be hoping for a better performance than their early exit from CAF Champions League, when they fell 1-0 to Rwandese side APR in early March.

Other teams participating in the tournament include Tanzanian side Simba, Burundian club Atlético Olympic, Uganda's URA, Somalia's Elman FC, Zanzibar's Mafunzo FC, Eritrea's Red Sea FC, Ethiopian Coffee FC and Sudan's Al Hilal.

Recently, CECAFA General Secretary Nicholas Musonye said the body will need $600,000 (about 900m/-) to host a successful event.

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