Five highlights of this year’s Cecafa tournament
Kenya and Zanzibar will face-off for the second time in less than a week in the final of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup on Sunday in Machakos.
But what else has happened during this two-week competition?
1. The return of Bukhungu stadium
This has been the story of the tournament. Happening two months after Kenya was snatched the hosting rights for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship, the Kakamega County government unveiled a refurbished football stadium that has had the whole region talking.
Granted, this is nowhere near the finished article until the completion of phase three of the project.
But the large crowds and magnificent architectural work is worthy of an accolade.
2. Lack of fans at Machakos stadium
If only the Machakos residents were as passionate about sports as their governor….
Again, the area governor marshaled all resources to bring this tournament to his home turf. Again, his residents let him down.
At some point, it even seemed justified that the games be shifted from Machakos to Kisumu.
Hope this changes during the final as the hosts will need all the support available.
3. Best talents
Some exciting talents were on display during the tournament, keeping fans entertained all through the duration of the tournament.
Some of the standout players include Harambee Stars trio Patrick Matasi, Duncan Ochieng and Dennis Sikhayi, Uganda’s Derrick Nsimbabi, Burundi’s Laudvit Mavugo and plus Zanzibar captain Mudathir Yahya.
4. Kisumu stadium dressing rooms
Undoubtedly the embarrassment of this tournament. Images of Zanzibar players moving towards a tent which was acting as a changing room for players were really shocking.
Shows why the Confederation of African Football now considers Kenya a not so serious host of international tournaments.
5. Zimbabwe and Sudan were never missed
These two countries, alongside Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia opted out of the tournament for various reasons.
And while the absence of the rest could be excused, Sudan and Zimbabwe were at the very least expected to grace this event.
Luckily their absence was seemingly never missed, as the nine competing sides displayed some competitive football.
6. Coach Paul Put is the man for Stars
Harambee Stars have vastly improved in this tournament. The team is the only side from the nine teams yet to concede a goal in the competition. The players are suddenly playing with commitment and purpose.
Blame all of this on new coach Paul Put.