This year’s Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) youth championships have received financial boost from the world football governing body, FIFA.
The development was confirmed by Nicholas Musonye, CECAFA Secretary General, mid this week.
According to Xinhua, Musonye said that the FIFA financial boost development came after they lobbied through the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
“We are happy that the region will have several tournaments played this year with support from FIFA,”
He said FIFA has agreed to fully sponsor the U-17 and CECAFA Women’s Challenge Cup that will take place in Burundi and Rwanda respectively in April.
He also made it clear that FIFA will finance the Beach Soccer and Women U-20 Championships that will take place in Uganda in September.
“We are optimistic that with FIFA’s support we shall have even better organised and competitive tournaments,” added Musonye.
During his campaign to become FIFA president, Gianni Infantino mentioned that he would give every regional body like CECAFA and Cosafa $1 million for development purposes. Last year the CECAFA region did not get support from FIFA.
Musonye said since the region has been struggling to find sponsorship to stage some of these tournaments, FIFA’s support will be a very big boost.
He said besides the tournaments that will be supported by FIFA, the regional body is also working hard to make sure the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and the Kagame Club Championships also get sponsors.
The annual Cecafa congress, sitting held in Nairobi last November, named Burundi as host of this youth tournament, and President Pierre Nkurunzinza has since been spearheading the renovation and construction of three stadiums in Ngozi, Muyinga and Gitega.
The Head of State, who also is a renowned football fan and player, is reported to have told Musonye: “We are almost ready for the games and I wish to really commend Cecafa for investing in youth football.
“Our fans love football, just wait and see how they will fill the stadiums. Next, we will be looking to host the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.”
Musonye added: “I am shocked and excited with the work I am seeing here (in Burundi). These are good facilities, small-standard stadiums of between 6,000 to 10,000 seater with a lovely surface.”
This youth tournament in Burundi will be the first to benefit from the recently approved Rwf. 848 million Fifa funding for women and youth football in this region.