Nairobi (AFP) – The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) will dedicate next month’s Challenge Cup in Kenya to peace following the post-election violence witnessed in parts of the country.
The 12-nation tournament, which runs from November 25 to December 9, will be played in Nakuru, Kakamega and Kisumu, the opposition stronghold in western Kenya where clashes between the police and supporters of the National Super Alliance coalition (NASA) left several people dead and scores injured.
“Sport has proved to be a unifying factor in countries where there have been conflicts. We want to use the power of football to bring all people together following the divisive and long-drawn (out) presidential elections,” CECAFA general secretary Nicholas Musonye told AFP.
The CECAFA Challenge Cup, Africa’s oldest football tournament, will be the first major sporting event to be held in Kenya following months of political uncertainty that led to cricket, rugby and athletics events being postponed or moved to other countries.
Musonye said Libya and Zimbabwe, who won the COSAFA (Council of Southern African Football Associations) Cup for a record fifth time in South Africa in July, have accepted to be guest teams during the three-week championships.
They will join hosts Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda (holders), Tanzania and Zanzibar in the event.
The last time the usually annual CECAFA Challenge Cup was played — in December 2015 — Uganda beat Rwanda 1-0 in the final to win a record 14th title.
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