Zanzibar to host Senior Challenge Cup from June 29 to July 14

New Amaan Sports Complex in Zanzibar

What you need to know:

  • The Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup will return after it was last held four years ago in 2019 with the hosts, Uganda, defeating Eritrea in the final.

Dar es Salaam. The Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa)’s Senior Challenge Cup is scheduled to take place from June 29 to July 14, 2024 in Zanzibar.

That was revealed by Cecafa’s Head of Public Relations and Communication, Andrew Oryada, during an exclusive interview with The Citizen yesterday.

Zanzibar was confirmed as the hosts of Cecafa’s biggest competition during the General Assembly held in Mombasa, Kenya.

“After consultations with our sponsors, Azam TV, we decided that from June 29 to July 14 would be the best timing for the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup,” said Oryada.

He called upon all member associations that will send teams to each contribute $20,000 (Sh52 million) by April 20, this year.

Oryada also made it clear that they are thinking of inviting guest teams from other zones to spice up the competition that will also help national teams in the Zone to prepare for the FIFA 2026 and Chan 2024 qualifiers.

The Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup will return after it was last held four years ago in 2019 with the hosts, Uganda, defeating Eritrea in the final.

According to Oryada, they are expecting to have a thrilling competition.

“We are determined to make the Cecafa Challenge Cup big on its return since 2019 when it was last held in Uganda. We believe the Challenge Cup for the next three years will bring the vibe in the zone ahead of the 2027 Afcon to be co-hosted by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania,” said Oryada.

He explained that the Cecafa tournaments have helped spot talent in the zone that has been tapped at professional level.

“For example, Uganda’s Travis Mutyaba, who played in U-17, U-18, U-20 tournaments and who recently was signed by Zamalek in Egypt, Tanzania’s Kelvin John, who performed in Cecafa tourneys and now plays for KRC Genk in Belgium.

“There are also Ali Sulueman Salih and Robel Teklemichael who played well when Eritrea finished second in the 2019 Challenge Cup, and the two now play professional football in Ethiopia, Aisha Masaka who played well in the Cecafa competitions and has now signed for BK Hacken in Sweden and many others,” he said.

Oryada said Cecafa will continue to organise tournaments as platforms for member associations in the Zone to test, expose and better their teams in different age categories.

Besides the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, the zone will also stage the five other competitions in the 2024 calendar.

They are Caf Women’s Champions League Zonal qualifiers (Ethiopia) scheduled to take place from August 17 to September 1 and the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) U-20 boys zonal qualifiers to be held in Tanzania from October 5 to 19 as well as Africa Schools Football Championship Zonal qualifiers to be held in Zanzibar from December 4 to 7.

The list also includes Cecafa U-20 Women’s Championship to be held in Ethiopia in November and Afcon U-17 boys zonal qualifiers, which are expected to take place in Uganda from December 14 to 19.