Yesterday marked the final game of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and if not surprising, Uganda managed to win the title pipping Kenya 1-0. Though most teams had sent their weaker sides, the competition was supposed to be a good opportunity for Kenya and other teams preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifiers to test their charges.
While Kenyans take consolation finishing second, the FIFA rankings reckoned otherwise- Kenya’s currently placed 84th and its neighbour Uganda at 68th- another opportunity to capitalize on placing our country in a steady position (You know we can’t send our players to some professional leagues if we are below 70th position- like the English Leagues?)
With the invitation of a guest team the competition was supposed to have a competitive edge to it and at least give value for money for sponsors and pay Tv channel GTV which signed a contract to air the games. This didn’t quit live to the billing though the bigger teams seemed to struggle earlier in the tourney. The wider African audience may have been amused by the level of competition exhibited.
Watching the games from the comfort of our seats was not shared by our players who kept complaining of the pathetic conditions of the pitches- especially what looked like a grazing field in Jinja. Can CECAFA attract serious funding with such grounds?
Why live up to such mediocrity?
What was worrying too was the timing of the tournament, which meant there were few fans getting into the gates of the stadia. Missed opportunity for revenues!
With the next tournament to be held in Kenya, there should a lot going for it. My belief is that Kenya will still be in the running to qualify for the Cup of Nations. As for the World Cup, I would like to share my optimism but with no proper management and tactical plans are in place to guarantee this. Tunisia which is also in the same Group had sent its personnel to analyse our game. Do we bother to do such assessment on our opposition?
Let’s hope Kenya will redeem the image of the tournament.