Sudan has been picked to host East and Central Africa’s first ever pre-Olympic football qualifying competition this year in a bid to enhance its chances of reaching the 2016 games.
Nicholas Musonye, the secretary of the East and Central Africa Football Federation (CECAFA) said the U-23 tournament in Khartoum in September will be used to prepare the region ahead of the African Olympic football qualifiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo next year.
“We are all aware that no football team from the East and Central African region has ever qualified for the Olympic Games. That is why we are holding this event to nurture the teams towards the African qualifiers. We are keen to have at least one team coming from this region in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro,” Musonye told a news conference in Nairobi.
Sudan will also stage CECAFA’s maiden Nile Basin Cup Winners Cup for league runner-up teams in May and June this year.
Musonye has lamented the failure of football clubs from the 12-member countries of CECAFA to progress beyond the second round of both the African Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions this season. “It shows a bad sign for football in this region. Our teams have not realized that African football is tricky and very demanding and they tend not to prepare well for it.”