Chronology of events that blotted Cecafa tournament

Chronology of events that blotted Cecafa tournamentThe series of gaffes that dominated the just-concluded Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup were too many a number to be enumerated all at once. 

Here are a few:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 – The Burundi national team is detained at Milele Hotel owing to delay or lack of payment of hotel bills as the squad prepares to depart for Nakuru where they were due to face Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars. This impasse was eventually resolved, albeit temporarily, and the team travelled by road to Nakuru, from where Cecafa Secretary-General Nicholas Musonye regretted the incident, calling it “an embarrassment.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013 – Two executive members of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup organising committee, Abdigani Said Arab from Somalia and Tariq Atta from Sudan, are detained at Alpine Hotel in Nakuru for more than seven hours after FKF fails to clear their bills amounting to Sh230,000.

“We came to assist Kenya host an internationally recognised tournament; now look, we are being treated like prisoners. It’s embarrassing,” Abdigani said.

Friday, December 6, 2013 – Defending champions Uganda Cranes are detained at Milele Hotel moments before the team checks out to Mombasa for their quarter-final fixture against Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars. While a compromise is later reached and the Cranes allowed to  depart, it proves a little too late as the team misses its flight to the Coastal city.

“This is sabotage!” Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic screamed. “Why is this [problem] not affecting the host team (Kenya) and our opponents [Tanzania] if, indeed, it is genuine?”

December 4-12, 2013 - Zanzibar and South Sudan are detained at the Grand Hotel in Nairobi West, what they termed as the biggest embarrassment.

At the time, teams are preparing to go back home following their elimination from the tournament. Instead, they end up stranded in Nairobi for eight days. FKF fails to clear the two teams’ bills during this period or even give them their air tickets. The team’s bus, driver and tour guides also ‘vanish without trace’.

Thursday, December 12, 2013 - Sudan, who were preparing to face hosts Kenya, are locked up at the Milele for similar reasons. On this occasion, the hotel flatly refuses to accept a commitment from the government to settle the bill later as a temporary condition for release.

FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya is forced to secure the services of Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch to intervene and ‘negotiate’ for the team’s release.

Meanwhile, the impasse forces the tournament organisers to reschedule the final match. Kick-off is moved from 4pm to 6pm

The Sudanese, smarting from a 2-0 defeat to the hosts in the final, seek refuge at their embassy before boarding a plane straight home. Clearly, they had had enough ‘serving time’ in Kenyan hotels.

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