Gor Mahia miss chance to meet TP Mazembe amid CECAFA Kagame Cup withdrawals

Gor Mahia miss chance to meet TP Mazembe amid CECAFA Kagame Cup withdrawals

Festus Chuma 08:00 - 14.06.2024

Blow for CECAFA Kagame Cup as TP Mazembe have clarified no invitation received and Azam FC requests rescheduling due to logistical issues.

Five-time African champions TP Mazembe have clarified their position regarding participation in the 2024 CECAFA Kagame Cup, scheduled to take place from July 6th to 22nd in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Despite initial reports, the Congolese giants have stated they have not received any official invitation from the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA).

Mazembe were initially named as one of three guest teams set to participate in the tournament alongside Malawi's Nyasa Big Bullets and Zambia’s Red Arrows FC.

However, a statement from the club revealed a different reality.

"The management of TP Mazembe learned from the media about the club's participation in the CECAFA Kagame Cup 2024," the club's statement reads.

"TPM informs the club's large family that it has not yet received any official invitation for its participation in the CECAFA Kagame Cup tournament, in which it has participated in the past."

The statement further clarified the club’s current status at the Dr Congo giants.

"Management indicates that the players are currently on leave and that training will resume on July 15, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. at the TP Mazembe Stadium," it adds.

The 20-time Congo Linafoot champions also addressed future participation contingencies.

"If a regional or sub-regional organization officially requests the participation of the Ravens in a competition, the management will analyze the opportunity and communicate the team's availability or lack thereof based on the resumption timetable," it concluded.

TP Mazembe's announcement follows the withdrawal of Tanzania's Azam FC from the 16-team tournament.

Azam FC, a two-time CECAFA Kagame Cup winner, have opted out of the competition to focus on their pre-season preparations ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Thabit Zaka Za Kazi Zakaria, Azam FC’s head of media, confirmed the decision in an interview with Azam TV.

"Actually, we have not withdrawn from the competition, but we find the tournament dates are not friendly. So we have requested that the tournament be rescheduled. It's not that we have withdrawn, it's because on those dates there are other preparations that we must do for the rest of the season," Zakaria explained as per Guardian.

"For players coming out of the holiday break, their initial training sessions do not include playing football but to build up their fitness and get them in shape. So you can spend the first two weeks just for that."

Azam FC recently secured second place in the Premier League standings, edging out Simba on goal difference with a 2-0 away victory against Geita Gold.

This achievement granted them the right to join champions Young Africans as Mainland Tanzania's representatives in the CAF Champions League next season.

The CECAFA Kagame Cup boasts a rich history, with Tanzania’s Simba SC holding the record for the most titles at six.

They are followed by national rivals Young Africans (Yanga) SC and Kenya's Tusker FC, both with five titles each.

Other notable winners include Rwanda's APR FC, Sudan's Al Merriekh, Uganda's SC Villa, and Kenya’s Gor Mahia FC, each with three titles.

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