The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) has launched an ambitious programmed aimed at seeing it represented at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
The initiative was announced in Nairobi Monday is a partnership between Cecafa and beer brewers East African Breweries Limited (EABL).
It starts with the brewers sponsoring this year’s Cecafa senior Challenge Cup taking place in Tanzania between November 27 and December 12.
Cecafa is the most active of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) zones
The sponsorship is to the tune of US$450,000 and will see the tournament bring together 12 countries, including three guest sides, Ivory Coast, Malawi and Zambia.
The three, like the nine Cecafa countries taking part want to use the tournament as part of their tune up for either the African Cup of Nations qualifiers resuming early next year or the African Championship (CHAN) in Sudan in March.
Cecafa members taking part include hosts Tanzania mainland, Zanzibar, defending champions Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.
Announcing the initiative, Cecafa general secretary Nicholas Musonye said the shame of missing out on the recent Fifa World Cup in South Africa will never be repeated.
“Cecafa is the most active of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) zones and it is only fair that we grab at least one of the five World Cup slots reserved for the continent,” he said.
fans are hungry for top quality football
He said with the EABL sponsorship, Cecafa will endeavor to deliver a great tournament.
“The money we are getting from EABL will be directed to the teams so that they can produce their best,” he added.
The money will go towards airlifting teams and officials to Dar es Salaam, accommodating them, local transport and prize money which is US$30,000 for the winners, US$20,000 for the runners up and US$10,000 for the third placed team.
The guest teams will only compete for the money.
“Football in our region is now enjoying tremendous support, our fans are hungry for top quality football and with this kind of support from Tusker, we will be able to stage a top class championship and grow football in the region,” Musonye said.
During Monday’s launch, the EABL Group managing Director, Seni Adetu showcased a new trophy to be competed for.
singular aim of promoting football in the region
The trophy will be taken on a six nation tour of the region before landing in Dar es Salaam for the tournament.
The cities to be visited include Kampala, Juba, Kigali and Bujumbura.
“Our support for the 2010 Cecafa Tusker Cup signals the start of a long term strategy that EABL will engage in with the singular aim of promoting football in the region and for ensuring that an eastern Africa team qualifies for the 2014 World Cup,” he said.
“It is our desire that this new trophy will motivate the participating teams and encourage them to look beyond the region,” Mr. Adetu said.
Musonye who had just arrived from Dar es Salaam where he had gone to inspect progress on preparations said everything was in place.
“I can confidently say that we are ready to start receiving delegations to the tournament,” he said.
Prior to the tournament, Cecafa will stage a two-day media and referees seminar.