The football mad central region will just sniff the Cecafa U-20 Challenge Cup from afar as the opportunity to host the underage tournament went to Njeru’s Fufa Technical Centre and Gulu’s Pece Stadium.
According to Fufa communications manager Ahmed Hussein, the federation wanted to give back to the upcountry supporters that take long to watch the national team in action.
“These fans have graced the Fufa Drum and Cranes regional tour matches in big numbers. It is fitting that Njeru and Pece Stadiums host the U-20 tourney since they have met the requirements,” Hussein revealed.
Pece Stadium got the nod to host the opening ceremony due Saturday after inspection by the Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman Darius Mugoye last week.
“I am certain we have all that we need for the tournament to be played here,” Musonye told the press after the stadium visit.
“We have also identified areas that need to be worked on and be improved upon which we have told management to handle. They have promised and committed themselves to do that within the deadlines. We are confident they will keep their word,” Musonye said over the weekend.
Pece hosted the 2012 Uganda Cup final where URA defeated Bunamwaya (present-day Vipers) 1-0.
Following its face-lift, the venue hosted events during the 14th East Africa Secondary Schools’ Games in 2017. Pece remains in line to host the Cecafa U-20 final if all goes according to plan. Nearby play grounds at St. Joseph’s College Layibi and Gulu High Schools will be used as training grounds for Group A teams Uganda, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan that will be based in Gulu.
Sudan’s 25-man delegation of 17 players and eight officials arrived yesterday afternoon. Djibouti was the first nation to arrive on Saturday.
Burundi and South Sudan teams are expected today whereas the Kenyan contingent is expected in the country tomorrow.
Njeru for Group B & C
Meanwhile, Njeru is where Group B and C matches will take place. The venue currently hosts clubs BuL and Busoga United in the Uganda Premier League and in 2016, it was the hub of activity for the inaugural Cecafa Women’s Championship.
This teenagers’ showpiece gathering a total 11 countries runs until October 5. This is the second time that Uganda is hosting this event after 1975. The country won the editions of 1973, 2006 and the last one staged in 2010, featuring names like Patrick Edema, Ivan Bukenya, Sadam Juma and Daniel Sserunkuma.