As the annual Council of East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA) club champions popularly known as Kagame Cup kick off on Saturday, the tournament’s defending champions Young African vowed to retain the title.
Their archrival Simba SC also vowed to hit a record seventh title. The two giants made the pledge yesterday, when the clubs received sports gear from their main sponsor, Kilimanjaro Premium Lager ahead of the Kagame Cup.
Yanga SC team Manager, Hafidh Suleiman, said his side was prepared to retain the cup and the players are in spirited mood ahead of the challenge. Yanga are scheduled to launch their campaign to defend their title today when they play Burundi’s Atletico at the National Stadium.
Suleiman was optimistic that going by the player’s registration, it was clear that they are capable of retaining the title they won last year in Dar es Salaam. On his side, Simba SC Vice Chairman, Geoffrey Nyange ‘Kaburu’ said they won’t repeat the mistake they made last year of losing the title during the final match against Yanga.
“We’re ready to prove that Simba is still the best team in the region as our record suggests… and fans should be rest assured that we will play the best soccer during the tournament,” he said. Simba won the tournament record six times.
He said they will also maintain their winning formular, saying the Kagame Cup will be their third title in three months time. Kaburu bragged that in the past three months Simba added into their cupboard the Premier League title, Urafiki Tanzania Cup and they are now eyeing the Kagame Cup.
Earlier, Acting Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand Manager, Oscar Shelukindo, challenged the two sides to ensure that the title remains at home. He said the Kagame tournament is the biggest clubs tournament in the East and Central Africa thus it is the best platform for local players to showcase their talents against top footballers in the region.
Meanwhile, the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA) has, once again, joined forces with an institution conducting Malaria eradication campaign, United Against Malaria (UAM) to sensitize the football fraternity in the region on the need to fight the scourge.
CECAFA General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, announced the partnership in Dar es Salaam on Friday, saying the regional soccer governing body was keen on using the Kagame Cup to spread the message on the fight against Malaria among soccer fans that will be attending the matches at the National Stadium in the city.
“We congratulate the UAM for working with us on creating awareness on the fight against Malaria to soccer fans in the region and we want to see to it that the campaign achieves success,” said Musonye.
“We feel proud to work with the institution for all three years we have been conducting the campaign and we want this cooperation to continue in every place that will host this tournament,” he added.
The CECAFA official said Malaria has had the most devastating effect in the Sub- Saharan region, where the regional soccer governing body members are located and the body is, therefore, determined to do all it can to support efforts to overcome the disease.
“The Sub-Saharan area is where CECAFA member countries are located and the region is one of the most affected areas as far as the spread of Malaria is concerned, so, we will work together with UAM in fighting the disease,” said Musonye
By NELLY MTEMA, Tanzania Daily News