James Magayi @magayijim
Regional representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup Gor Mahia of Kenya and Rayon Sports of Rwanda are set to face off in the 2018 CECAFA Club Championships (Kagame Cup) set for June 28-July 13 in Tanzania.
The cash-strapped regional body unveiled their fixtures for the club championships yesterday, meaning the Kagame Cup will be back following a two-year hiatus occasioned by financial constraints and squabbles among member states.
In the released fixtures, Group A will feature Tanzanian league runners-up Azam, Zanzibar’s Jeshi La Kujenga Uchumi (JKU), Kator FC of South Sudan and a yet to be named team from Uganda.
Winners of Uganda Premier League in the just-concluded season Vipers could take up the slot as Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) have opted out of the championships to fully focus on the CAF Champions League in which they are contending for a quarter-final place.
Gor and Rayon headline Group B that also comprises Lydia Ludic of Burundi and Ports of Djibouti. Gor and Yanga are coincidentally in the same CAF Confederation Cup group and have already faced off once this season.
Tanzanian rivals Yanga and Simba are pooled together in Group C alongside St George’s of Ethiopia and Dakadaha from war-torn Somalia. Yanga too, are scheduled to play Gor in the Confederation Cup next month and have an away fixture against Rayon in the continent’s second tier club competition.
During the last edition of CECAFA Club Championships, Azam prevailed over Gor at Dar es Salaam’s national stadium courtesy of a 2-0 score line. The 16-time Kenyan champions have since upped their ante and are now ranked highly among regional clubs.
If Gor decides to take part in the championships—there are fears of fatigue and fixture congestions that might complicate their situation—they will be among the favourites. “We want to win everything. We want to defend our Premier League title, win Sportpesa Super Cup, CECAFA and the CAF Confederation Cup. We also want to win the Shield and any other tournament we play in,” said Gor tactician Dylan Kerr.
The club is however, reeling from a growing number of rescheduled league matches as they endeavour to take part in all the competitions. K’Ogalo are already three games behind in the league and will most definitely fall further behind if they choose to go ahead with CECAFA plans.