By GILBERT WANDERA in CAIRO
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will take part in the Nile Basin tournament, which kicks off Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.
Congo became the seventh team to be included in the competition that had by last week been expected to feature six teams following the late inclusion of Burundi.
Congo will now join hosts Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan in the event. Organisers are expected to draw up new fixtures to include the new entrants.
According to Hussein Swaleh, who is leading the Kenyan delegation here, they were informed of DRC’s inclusion just two days ago and this could mean Kenya may not play Sudan in the opening match Wednesday as earlier expected.
"We were really hoping to meet Sudan so that our boys can start the tournament on a confident note. As it is, this may not be possible but we are waiting for the revised fixtures from the organisers," said Swaleh in Cairo.
Swaleh also admitted that they were yet to pay players allowances, but is expecting a Government official in Cairo tomorrow to clear the allowances.
"We wrote to the Harambee Stars Management Board through the Ministry of Sports and we have been assured an official will arrive here and pay the allowances. We do not want the same thing that happened in Tanzania to happen here," said Swaleh, referring to the strike by the national team over unpaid allowances at the regional senior challenge cup in Tanzania.
The players did not show discontent over the unpaid allowances, with head coach Zedekiah Otieno saying he has been assured the same will be cleared before the end of the seven-nation tournament.
On the inclusion of Congo, Otieno said playing the team would give his side invaluable experience as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which kick off in March.