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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Libya, Zimbabwe added to 2017 regional soccer tourney 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Libya and Zimbabwe have been added to the 12-nation roster for the 2017 Council of East and Central Africa (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup that will be held in Kenya from Nov. 25 to Dec. 6.

The regional football tournament that is the oldest of its kind in Africa, returns after a two-year hiatus with Libya and Zimbabwe listed as guest teams.

Champions and 14-time winners Uganda who lifted the 2015 Cecafa title in Ethiopia, hosts Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Zanzibar, Burundi and Somalia complete the line-up.

According to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President, Nick Mwendwa, the guests will take the places of Djibouti and Eritrea who will not be participating.

“This year’ s competition will have Libya and Zimbabwe replacing Djibouti and Eritrea who have been dormant in international assignments hence requested to be excluded,” Mwendwa told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The fixtures are planned for the Moi Stadium (Kisumu), Bukhungu Stadium (Kakamega) and Afraha Stadium (Nakuru).

“We couldn’t have it in Nairobi since Nyayo is undergoing renovation while Kasarani has been put on hold for a function.

“We want to use football to pacify the nation after a hot political environment. We also want to promote friendship among people of different divide within this region,” the country’s football chief added.

“We have received assurance from the government who will fund a proportion of the estimated budget,” Mwendwa further said, adding Herbert Mwachiro will head the Local Organizing Committee for the tournament.

“We are promising a credible tournament with beefed up security. People will be surprised at how peaceful it will be in the chosen venues.

“Kenya has never had a problem of security and football is a unifying movement. Expect to see both sides of the political divide mingling with ease,” Cecafa General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, underscored at the same function.

“At Cecafa, we have engaged sponsors and broadcasters whom we shall reveal in due course. We want this year’s edition to bring back the good memories the tournament has had from the days of Gosage Cup,” he stressed.

With heavy rains pounding the country, organisers have set aside Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos and the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani as stand-by venues.

This is to caution against the wet weather should the scheduled venues be rendered unplayable. 

             

 

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