IT was a sad day for Tanzania when the country’s only envoys at the continental level tournaments, Young Africans crashed out with a humiliating defeat in Algiers last Saturday.
The Tanzanian envoys and Uganda’s Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA] were the only East African teams that at least had hopes to advance following their home wins against North Africans teams, MC Alger and Egypt’s Al Masry. But the return legs in Algiers and Cairo were disastrous for our teams.
Football level, under CECAFA signature, still face an uphill task to reach a desired level as opposed to that of Southern Africa or COSAFA zone, which has seen a remarkable progress while our CECAFA zone continue to be eclipsed.
African champions Mamelodi Sundown, Mbabane Swallows who kicked Tanzanian envoys, Azam out of the Confederation, and Super Sports, are a few of the highly successful Southern Africa teams that previously were never seen to be threats.
We are nowhere on the football map, and It is shocking to see that the regional football body, CECAFA seemed to have melted into the thin air alongside its tournaments. Kagame Cup champions, Azam FC still hold the crown for the second year now because there was no tournament that could make them defend the title.
The famous East African Senior Challenge Cup, also seems to be gone forever and so is its big campaigner, Nicholas Musonye who previously fought tooth and nail to ensure East Africa’s oldest tournament is successfully staged.
Both club and national level tournaments staged by CECAFA were very essential in testing skills, team-work basis as well as advertising football skills found in the region.
Some of the best picks include Amis Tambwe, Burundian who now serves Yanga after emerging the best scorer in one of the CECAFA tournaments.
Ugandans Brian Majwega and Hamis Kiiza, Rwandans Jean Mugiraneza and Haruna Niyonzima who joined Tanzania teams; Azam and Yanga are also among the notable products of CECAFA-staged tournaments.
Serious strategies must be done now by members states to help CECAFA regain life and enable it renew its campaign to develop football and East Africanism through football.