Bandari's withdrawal from Zanzibar's Mapinduzi Cup explained


FOOTBALL Bandari's withdrawal from Zanzibar's Mapinduzi Cup explained

Festus Chuma 13:44 - 23.12.2023

Bandari FC's unexpected withdrawal from the 2024 Mapinduzi Cup leaves fans puzzled, as they were set to fly the Kenyan flag high in the tournament.

Bandari FC have withdrawn from the eagerly anticipated 2024 Mapinduzi Cup organized by Zanzibar.

The Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side, which had been gearing up to represent Kenya in the prestigious tournament, was slated to participate alongside three other foreign clubs.

The decision to pull out of the tournament has left fans and football enthusiasts wondering about the reasons behind this sudden change of plans.

The 2024 Mapinduzi Cup was scheduled to take place from December 28 to January 13 at Amaan Stadium, with Bandari FC placed in Pool 'C' alongside football giants such as Yanga SC from Tanzania, KVZ from Zanzibar, and Vital’O from Burundi.

The tournament, which is a celebration of Zanzibar's Revolution Day, brings together teams from various countries, offering an opportunity for international exposure and competition.

Bandari's withdrawal came just five days before the tournament's kickoff, and the reasons behind this decision have been revealed by the club's vice chairman, Twaha Mbarak.

According to Mbarak, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) expressed concerns that participating in the Mapinduzi Cup would disrupt the smooth running of the Kenyan league.

"The federation has told us participating in the tournament will affect the smooth running of the league," Mbarak stated as per Nation.

Mbarak, however, emphasized that they had made arrangements to minimize the impact on their league schedule.

"But we had made arrangements. If we made it to the final (of the tournament), only one league assignment against Nzoia (Sugar) would have been affected. I'd reached out with a proposal on how to reschedule the match, and our opponents had no problem with that," he added.

Despite their willingness to accommodate the league's concerns and rearrange their fixtures, Bandari was left with no choice but to withdraw from the Mapinduzi Cup, disappointing fans who were eagerly anticipating their participation.

Mbarak, who is reportedly eyeing the FKF presidency, took the opportunity to call upon the federation to create avenues for local teams to participate in international tournaments.

He emphasized the importance of such platforms for players to showcase their talents on the global stage, potentially opening doors to international opportunities.

“FKF needs to encourage and facilitate local teams to participate in international tournaments as a platform for our players to showcase their God-given talents, which could be an opportunity to venture into the international market,” stated Mbarak in a past interview.

The Mapinduzi Cup, which has been a significant part of Zanzibar's independence celebrations since its inception in 1998, has seen various teams clinch the coveted trophy.

Azam FC holds the record with five tournament victories, followed by Simba SC with three titles. Mtibwa Sugar and Young Africans (Yanga) have both won the cup twice.

The tournament has also seen one-time champions from Zanzibar and Uganda, underlining its diverse and competitive nature. 

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