Zambia join Cecafa fray as Eritrea pull out – Daily Nation

Eritrea pulled out due to administrative wrangles in the home federation. Zambia will play in Group B alongside Kenya, Sudan and Burundi. The group has its preliminary matches at Jinja’s Bugembe stadium.



Zambia has replaced Eritrea in the regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup that starts on December 31 in Uganda.


Speaking at a joint press conference with the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) officials said on Thursday, sponsors GTV’s Kenya general manager, Charles Waituika, said Zambia will replace Eritrea in this year’s tournament after the latter failed to put together its national team in time.


“We are delighted that Zambia are on board for the tournament and we will have a complete set of 10 strong teams competing fiercely for the title,” said Waituika.


Zambia is a member of Council of South African Football Associations (Cosafa), but was originally a member of Cecafa before the launch the southern African council.


“As you all know Zambia is a very strong team and has qualified for the next round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. They will be hoping to use this tournament to prepare for the next round set to begin in March next year,” Waituika said.


Zambia are five times finalists at the same tournament, including winning the trophy in 1991 at Kampala’s Nakivubo Stadium in Uganda before their shift.


Eritrea pulled out due to administrative wrangles in the home federation. Zambia will play in Group B alongside Kenya, Sudan and Burundi. The group has its preliminary matches at Jinja’s Bugembe stadium.


Cecafa secretary general, Nicholas Musonye said all plans were complete, and each team will be assured of training facilities during the tournament.


“We had a very successful tournament last year in Tanzania and we’ve planned for a better one this time round. All teams are assured of training facilities,” said Musonye.


In 2006, Zambia were invited to participate at the East Africa Championship and then coached by Patrick Phiri, the “Chipolopolo Boys”, which was made up of local based players, emerged victorious.


They have won the Cecafa tournament three times in 1984,1991 and 2006.


After failing to win the trophy since 2002, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will be hoping to redeem their image in this year’s tourney.


“Despite having started our training a little late, the team if focussed in winning in Uganda,” said Stars’ head coach, Francis Kimanzi.


Kenya, Sudan and Zambia are expected to keenly contest this year’s competition, sponsored by pay television station, GTV.


 

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