Inaugural clubs competition kicks-off at Nyayo Stadium with Vihiga Queens carrying Kenya’s hopes

Saturday, August 28th, 2021 00:00 |
Vihiga Queens players training ahead of CECAFA Womem Club Championships. INSET: Cecafa Secretary General Auka Gacheo (left) and FKF Vice President Doris Petra at a press conference on Friday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

The wait is over and history is about to be made on Saturday when the first ball is kicked in the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League CECAFA Qualifier, heralding in a new era for women’s football in the region.

The eight-teams competition in Nairobi will serve as the preliminary tournament for the first-ever Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League that is scheduled to take place in Egypt later this year, with only the tournament winner advancing to the continental finals.

But over and above that, it is the culmination of the long-held dream of CECAFA to stage a Women’s Champions League in which the best women’s football clubs sides in East Africa will battle it out for the right to be crowned Regional Queens.

Seven out of the eight clubs that had confirmed participation in the regional qualifiers have checked into the capital, Nairobi, save for Zanzibari outfit New Generation, who are scheduled to jet in today morning, ahead of the tournament kick-off.

In a press briefing held yesterday at the Nyayo National Stadium, CECAFA Executive Director Auka Gacheo noted how the tournament will offer an opportunity to women teams, allowing them to play at the highest level.

“This tournament is the next level for the women’s game in the CECAFA region. It will provide our teams with the opportunity to play at the highest level of continental club competition available in Africa, which is the CAF Women’s Champions League,” said Gacheo.

Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairperson Doris Petra who also doubles up as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Deputy President, echoed Gacheo’s words saying this opportunity will help raise the profile of the women’s game in the region.

“This will help raise the profile of the women’s game, attract more players, fans and lead to the creation of more clubs,” said Doris Petra.

The matches are set to be played at the Nyayo National Stadium (main venue), and the MISC Kasarani, with the first-ever match scheduled at the Nyayo National Stadium today when Uganda’s representative Lady Doves FC clash with FAD FC of Djibouti from 1 pm local time.

Later in the day, Burundi’s representative PVP FC will go up against Simba Queens of Tanzania at the same venue from 4 pm Kenyan time in the last action of Day 1, while tomorrow will usher in Day 2 of the competition where Yei Join Stars of South Sudan will face off with New Generations of Zanzibar at the same venue in the early kick-off as from 1 pm before the whole nation give a standing ovation to the country’s flag bearer Vihiga Queens who will be taking on Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) FC at Nyayo National Stadium from 4 pm.

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