Caf orders Cecafa U20 tournament to be played without fans

The local federation confirms the two-week competition will have no fans after the African body requested for the same

Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has confirmed the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has ordered the Cecafa U20 tournament to be played behind closed doors.

The regional competition which will bring together nine nations is set to kick-off on November 20 and will run until December 2 in Arusha, Tanzania.

But despite Tanzania having their Mainland Premier League attended by fans and even their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tunisia including spectators, the African body has maintained the tournament will be played without fans because of Covid-19.

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According to TFF secretary general Wilfred Kidao, their efforts to convince Caf to have fans during the competition, have hit a snag since the African body feels it is a tournament for junior players and that Covid-19 protocols must be adhered to.

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“Caf are the main sponsors of the tournament because it will produce two teams that will qualify for the 2021 U20 tournament in Mauritania, and for that, they have asked us to follow the protocol,” Kidao told reporters in Dar es Salaam.

“Most tournaments under Fifa and Caf are adhering to Covid-19 protocols and saw all the matches have their own rules, so they have asked us as the host to follow the rules to the letter, we have tried to tell them we don’t have Covid-19 in Tanzania, but they have refused.

“We have told them our country has moved on and everything is back to normal but they have refused, we have also sent them a video of fans attending the derby between Yanga SC and Simba SC but they have also refused to accept our request.”

Kidao continued: “So it now means the U20 matches in Karatwa and Arusha will be played without fans, Caf has said the tournament involves juniors and they have a huge risk of contracting the Covid-19 and so they don’t want fans in attendance.

“We will follow Caf rules, we will adhere to the protocols as laid down and we will do everything to make sure the rules are followed and it is the same thing they did in the Cosafa tournament in South Africa, there were on fans, we really wanted to have fans to support our Tanzania team but the rules have now changed and we don’t have anything we can do.”

The Kenya U20 national team, the Rising Stars, started residential training for the tournament on Tuesday at the Kenya School of Government with both the team and the members of their technical bench undergoing the mandatory Covid-19 tests ahead of the regional junior tournament.

Kenya has been pooled in Group C of the tournament that will run from Sunday, November 22, to Wednesday, December 2, 2020, in Arusha.

Apart from Rwanda and Eritrea who will not take part, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Somalia, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda, will participate in the competition.

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