Petros Kausiyo, Harare Bureau
SIX years after their last dance with the Cecafa Challenge Cup, Zimbabwe’s Warriors will be back at the East African tournament when they take part at the competition in Kenya next month as a guest nation.
The Cecafa Challenge Cup is Eastern and Central Africa’s equivalent of the Cosafa Castle Cup.
The Warriors, who won the Cosafa Castle Cup for a record fifth time in South Africa in July, have been invited to participate at the Cecafa in Kenya from November 25 to December 9.
Zimbabwe’s invitation was contained in a letter sent to Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa by Cecafa secretary-general Nicholas Musonye this week and also cements the strengthening ties between the Cosafa and Cecafa regions as well as the North African zone.
Chiyangwa, who is the Cosafa president also chairs the coalition of Cecafa, Cosafa and the North, which is commonly known as CNN, which is working jointly to enhance the development of the game in their three zones.
The Harare businessman attended the Cecafa annual meeting in Khartoum, Sudan earlier this month.
“Greetings from Kenya. And the Cecafa family. As you recall during our meeting in Khartoum we did inform you that we would like to continue exchanging invitations within our zones.
“In this regard, we wish to invite Zimbabwe national team to participate in the Cecafa Challenge Cup in Kenya between 25th November- 9th December 2017.
“Cecafa and the host nation will cover full board accommodation of 25 persons and provide local transport for your delegation. We kindly ask you to pay the air transport for your delegation because of the limited resources at our disposal.
“We would be glad to receive your commitment latest 10th October to enable us to make early preparations. I will liaise with Sue as we have always done to ensure our activities run smoothly,’’ wrote Musonye.
Chiyangwa also revealed that his association was lining up a number of matches for the various national teams in the next three months.
“There will be a number of matches between now and end of year for our various national teams from Under-15, Under-17, Under-20 and the senior team and this is for both men and women and these will be at regional and international levels and they will include our players who are in the Diaspora.
“As for the Cecafa, yes we will be sending our Warriors to the Cecafa tournament. It is not the first time that we have taken part in this tournament and it must be remembered that it was actually the first major piece of silverware that our Warriors won in 1985 at Rufaro Stadium.
“This in invitation underlines the close co-operation that exists between Cosafa and Cecafa and is in line with the initiatives that have been espoused in the MOU that was signed by our three bodies including the Northern Zone,’’ Chiyangwa said.
The Zifa boss was also happy to note that the Warriors will take part in the Cecafa at a time they are carrying the champions tag for their own region.
“Fittingly for our Warriors they also take up the invitation to be a guest nation at the Cecafa Challenge Cup at a time when they are the current Cosafa champions.
“We will now work to put in place the technical department that will take charge of the Warriors at that competition, which will also serves as part of on-going preparations for the resumption of the 2019 Afcon qualifying campaign,’’ Chiyangwa said.
The Cecafa Challenge Cup was the first major trophy which the Warriors won at Rufaro in 1985 under the tutelage of Mick Poole with Misheck Chidzambwa as the captain.