Kenya granted chance to play in Cecafa show as CHAN ties are pushed back
The African Football Confederation (CAF) have agreed to change the Cup of African Nations (CHAN) fixtures in order not to clash with the Cecafa senior Challenge Cup that takes place in Kampala between November 24 and December 8.
The decision now paves the way for Kenya’s Harambee Stars to participate in the tournament. Last week, Football Kenya Federation held an emergency national executive committee meeting chaired by chairman Sam Nyamweya to petition the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) to seek alternative dates to allow the Kenya national team to feature in the tourney.
The Kenyans were initially penciled in to play Burundi in the CHAN tournament meant for domestic league based players on December 2.
“After discussions with CAF we agreed to propose the dates of December 14-16 and January 4-6 regarding the preliminary round matches of your zone. Burundi and Eritrea have already agreed to the new CAF schedule.” stated a letter to Cecafa president Leodegar
Tenga and secretary general Nicholas Musonye signed by CAF’s Amr Fahmy. With the deadlines for confirming participation set for next week Cecafa have been asked to ask Kenya and Ethiopia to confirm their participation after the latest date changes.
Already eight nations including hosts Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania (Mainland) and Zanzibar have confirmed participation for the 36th edition of the tournament While Ivory Coast, African champions Zambia and Malawi have asked to be included as guest nations.
The draw of the tournament is scheduled for November 8. Meanwhile the latest Fifa national rankings place Kenya at 128th position, three places down from the last ranking.
FKF chief executive Lodvick Aduda is, however, optimistic Stars can improve by playing more international friendlies and doing well in them. “For a long time we did not have many international friendlies and that affected our rankings but now we have chances to play against higher ranked teams. Iff we do well I am sure our standing in the world pecking order will greatly improve,” Aduda said.
Stars play South Africa in an international friendly on November 16 and the match, the first for the team under Frenchman Henri Michel will provide a perfect springboard for Kenya to start their upward mobility.
On the latest rankings Kenya are 37th on the continent and fourth in the region behind Uganda (90), Sudan (100) and Ethiopia (118).
“As a federation we are determined to see our national teams do well and that is why we are committed to organising high profile friendly matches to help improve our standard."