The secretary general of the Council for East and Central Football Africa Football Associations (Cecafa), Nicholas Musonye, has hailed the talent exhibited by youngsters at the just concluded U20 Cecafa Challenge Cup in Uganda.
Kenya's Emerging Stars lost to Tanzania by a solitary goal on Saturday in the final of the two-week tournament which attracted 11 other national teams and was staged in the towns of Jinja and Gulu.
"I am excited about future generations of football in our region. The talents on show here were so promising," Musonye said.
"Our brothers from North and West Africa have been performing better than us because they nurture and showcase talents from a tender age. This year alone, we have organised U15 and U20 tournaments. Last year, we staged two U17 tournaments and something for the ladies," Musonye further said.
Stars coach Stanley Okumbi appeared to agree with Musonye, urging Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to maintain the crop of players that defeated Zanzibar, Ethiopia and Eritrea en route to the final.
"We have had a good tournament and were unlucky to lose in the final. When we get back home, I will try to convince the federation to plan for the boys so we can consider graduating them to become our U23 team," Okumbi said.
Kenya's Brian Bwire was voted the best goalkeeper at the tournament, while Sydney Lokale and Austin Odhiambo also impressed alongside Tanzanian forward Kelvin John, who was voted top scorer and Most Valuable Player.
At the same time, Musonye has shared his concerns following the disappearance of five Eritrean players from the team camp in Jinja.
Regardless he expressed satisfaction that the competition went on smoothly despite being held in what was previously the war-torn town in Northern Uganda.
"Gulu is now safe. We have brought football here and everything has gone on smoothly. We also did the same in Kordofan, in Sudan. My final dream is to take a Cecafa tournament to Somalia," Musonye said.
The next regional tournament will be the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala come December, where Kenya's Harambee Stars will be all out to defend their title.