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Musonye says more room for CECAFA progress

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CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye is proud that teams from the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) have posted ‘tremendous’ improvement on the continental map.

Musonye, says he will be pleased to leave CEACAFA at a point where the rest of the African teams no longer view her members as weaklings in football.

Speaking ahead of the Senior Challenge Cup set for Uganda, Kampala from December 7, the outgoing SG said the competition in this year’s edition will be a notch higher drawing from the recent performances in the continentals.

“We had four teams making the finals of 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. All of them will be in Kampala for the tournament, which tells you the competition is going to be even tougher,” said the veteran regional football administrator.

Musonye has advised the CECAFA members to keep growing the competitions in their annual calendar, underlining their importance in grooming budding talents for international stages.

“The tournament is a good platform for the teams to gauge their players ahead of the next international break in March. When you have no activity for national teams for close to for months, it is not good especially for the players who are freshly challenging for slots in the teams,” he added.

Musonye wants the trend to have CECAFA teams in AFCON to continue, going to Cameroon 2021.

“We had seated and agreed we must have our teams in AFCON. This must continue. In Cameroon we should have even more teams. This will be possible if the cohesiveness we have been fighting to enhance within the region is sustained,” he averred.

However, a major setback in the tournament is the absence of Rwanda, who have opted out of the regional championship citing financial constraints. This is despite the massive support the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame has shown for the CECAFA tournaments before, including sponsoring the Club Championship for years.

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This comes in the backdrop of the country also pulling out of the 2019 CECAFA U-17 boys tournament held in Uganda, and most recently the Women’s Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.

However, the void left by the Amavubi Bees will be covered by guests DR Congo, who Musonye says will add a unique spark into the tournament.

“This is a good side coming as a guest team. They are a quality side and looking at the competitiveness we have been talking about they will add good value.”

DRC will be in Group B, which also has Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, while hosts Uganda head Group A that also features Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Holders Kenya are yet to name the squad for the fiesta, with head coach Francis Kimanzi expected to summon a mix of regular and new faces next week in camp for preparations.

Kenya are in Group C of the Senior Challenge Cup together with Tanzania, Zanzibar and Djibouti.




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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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