Kimanzi blasts CECAFA for 'sleeping on the job' as regional football deteriorates

Harambee Stars (IMAGO/Shengolpixs)

FOOTBALL Kimanzi blasts CECAFA for 'sleeping on the job' as regional football deteriorates

Joel Omotto 17:04 - 11.09.2023

The former Harambee Stars coach feels the East African region would have had more representatives at next year's AFCON had CECAFA been actively involved.

Former Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi has hit out at the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) for 'sleeping on the job' while the standards of the game in the region deteriorate.

Kimanzi's concerns stem from the fact that only Tanzania have qualified for the delayed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, set to be played in the Ivory Coast next year when the region is capable of sending more representatives.

The former Kenya coach feels while the onus is on each country to put their house in order and qualify for the continental tournament, CECAFA can play a major part which it has so far failed to do.

“With CECAFA, everything they plan always gets postponed. Recently they postponed the Kagame Cup after cancelling the U18 Women’s tournament. We don’t even know if the Senior Challenge Cup will be held,” said Kimanzi.

"Meanwhile, COSAFA have their tournaments going on but we keep losing out. The region is supposed to do better.

"Qualifying for AFCON is an isolated case because it is country by country and there are a number of factors like financing but the region can be important in what we are doing.

"The way things are managed in each country is different, there are those with political and financial stability and there are those with none. However, to achieve AFCON qualification, you need a long-term plan but many countries, including Kenya, do not have sponsorship so we cannot speak long-term."

CECAFA has come under fire recently in light of their inactivity in terms of tournaments with some postponed for various reasons.

The regional body last month cancelled the 2023 Kagame Cup with Executive Director Auka Gecheo citing the busy CAF/FIFA calendar.

The last CECAFA Kagame Cup was held in 2021 when Uganda’s Express FC beat Malawian outfit Nyasa Big Bullets FC 1-0 in the final played in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Gecheo also made it clear that the CECAFA U-23 Championship, which was meant to take place in Ethiopia, will now be played next year in January.

The CECAFA Women U18 was also cancelled after several date changes having been scheduled at the end of June.

Tanzania qualified for AFCON after finishing second in their group that also had Uganda, who were third, while Kenya missed out on the qualifiers altogether due to a FIFA ban.

Burundi still have a chance if they pull off an unlikely win against Cameroon while Rwanda and Sudan could not make the cut.