•The tournament, which returns after a two-year hiatus, has attracted 12 teams among them are invitees, DR Congo and Sudan as well as Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti who are regular participants albeit from the region's periphery.
•Musonye, however, insisted that the showpiece will run as scheduled despite the challenges.
Hardly three days before the 40th edition of the Cecafa Senior Challenge in Uganda, the organisers are in a race against time to secure enough sponsors to cater for their giant budget.
The tournament which returns after a two-year hiatus has attracted 12 teams among them invitees DR Congo and Sudan as well as Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti who are regulars albeit as guests.
With hosts Uganda set to get proceedings underway this Saturday against Ethiopia in Jinja, the organisers are grappling with dry coffers, thanks to lack of sponsors to bankroll the tournament.
The governing body's Secretary-General Nicholas Musonye said they have been forced to request the participating countries through their federations to part with the mandatory USD 20,000 (approximated 2 million ) registration fee to boost their final preparations for the tournament.
The long-serving administrator revealed that this year, the winner will pocket a tidy prize money—further thickening their financial puzzles. Musonye, however, insisted that the showpiece will run as scheduled despite the challenges.
“The only challenge we have so far is money. We have already rolled out our budget but we do not have the money. In this edition, we want to reward the winner handsomely but we are yet to nail down sponsors who will shoulder the budgetary costs. We have requested the participating countries to wire the registration fee on time to avoid being locked out of the showpiece,” he said.
He added: “Azam remains our broadcast partner and all media houses within the region should liaise with them in time for content. Even with financial setbacks, we are committed to delivering a successful tournament.”
Meanwhile, Football Kenya Federation acting Chief Executive Officer Barry Otieno lifted the lid on Harambee Stars preparations ahead of their title defence. Stars are placed in Pool C alongside Tanzania Djibouti and Zanzibar and will head to Uganda seeking their eighth regional title.
“The team reported to a residential camp on Monday at Utalii. We are aware that for us to take part in the tournament, we have to pay some fee and we are keen to do that before we cross the border."