By Kayanga John
This year’s CECAFA Kagame Cup is unlikely to be played leaving Atlabara’s hopes of participating in limbo.
The regional Clubs’ competition was scheduled for December in Kenya, but to this end, there are no signs when it will kick-off.
So why is this so, despite numerous assurances from CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye that Kagame Cup will indeed be hosted this year in his home country Kenya?
An inside source from the organization, according to Kenya sports website soka25east.com, alleged that “sabotage,” and not lack of funds to stage the annual tournament as has been previously cited, is the reason for the delay.
The anonymous source further revealed that the television rights for the two championships that South Africa based pay television giants “DSTV/Supersport” currently holds, and that the Tanzania’s “Azam TV” is salivating for, are at the center of the stalemate.
Azam holds media rights for Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda top leagues, while DSTV/Supersport has monopoly over Kenya’s.
Good number of federation presidents in the region, the source explains, will only host the tournament if Azam TV is given the deal, all in a “grand scheme” to edge out DSTV/Supersport.
Football Kenya Federation is yet to write a letter committing to host this year’s showpiece. They recently reignited their botched partnership with MP&SILVA, a sports rights distribution company, handing them rights for Kenya Cup, previously with “Go TV”, a subsidiary of Multi Choice, which also owns DSTV/Supersport hence clipping their wings in the Kenya football scene.
Tanzania staged the last edition of Kagame Cup in 2015, in which host Azam FC beat Kenya’s Gor Mahia 2-0 in the finals to be crowned champions for the first time. All the matches were exclusively beamed live on DSTV/Supersport.
The other issue at play is control over CECAFA secretariat, which Kenya hosts in Nairobi. With expected FIFA funding, a section of the FA heads “were heard” in Cairo, Egypt, during the CAF congress in September, calling for relocation of the center of power.