Wembley Stadium witnessed the first ever draws of African Nations Cup UK football tournament on 17th April. Defending champions Ghana seeded in Group A alongside South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. In Group B, Sierra Leone, Angola, Zanzibar, Zambia & Somalia. Group C: Nigeria, Algeria, Gambia, Rwanda & Camroon. Group D has Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Guinea Bissau.
The draws of the 2014 African Nations Cup UK (ANCUK) were held on Thursday 17th April afternoon at the home of English football, Wembley Stadium. This was a historic moment for the tournament which is now credible and recognised as a major football event in the UK by The Football Association (The FA).
The draw was conducted in the lavish East View Corporate Suit in front of all the representatives of the 20 countries participating in this year’s tournament. The FA Head of Inclusion and Community Development Officer Kevin Coleman attended the function and also represented The FA. He conducted the draws with assistance from two celebrated African stars, Pauline Long a renowned UK Pan African TV Presenter and Erick Ochieng a Professional Boxer from Kenya. The occasion was also graced by Ethiopian Airlines (The Official Tournament Sponsors) who were represented by Mr Muhammad Ali the Senior Executive and Head of Marketing. The event was also attended by some dignitaries and representatives from various African Embassies in the UK. New debutants Angola impressed, they brought a full delegation headed by Cristiano Diogo Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Angola in the UK.
Before the draw, Founder of the Tournament Mr. Dennis Mahadha Kirunda had the opportunity to share the rich history of the tournament with the audience. He also gave an emotional testimony of how his passion for football made him realise his dream of “uniting communities’ through the game” His contribution to football via the tournament has since been recognised by The FA and the Royal Family. Last year, Dennis was honoured at Buckingham Palace by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge who is also The President of The Football Association for his heroism in bringing communities together through football.
The draw itself threw a lot of surprises, holders Ghana were seeded in Group A and paired in what looks like the group of death with Zimbabwe; Uganda Tanzania and South Africa. Group B saw the losing finalists Sierra Leone being pitted with Angola, Zanzibar, Zambia and Somalia. While in Group C, fireworks are expected as Nigeria take on perennial rivals Cameroon and Algeria with Rwanda and Gambia standing in as rank outsiders. Lastly, Group D features losing semi finalist Morocco, Kenya, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and the surprised package of new debutants Ethiopia who look well organised judging by their preparations so far, mentioned in a recent TV interview by their manager.
According to Mr Daniel Lutaaya (Tournament’s Marketing Director), this year’s tournament will be special. The acquisition of a new sponsorship deal from Ethiopian Airlines has been a revelation and milestone. The new lucrative sponsorship deal will see the tournament being branded as ‘The Ethiopian Airlines African Nations Cup UK’, the sponsorship package was sealed by the marketing team of the airlines at their London Office last week. After the draw, Mr Muhammad Ali representing Ethiopian Airlines, the biggest operating airline in Africa said “We are proud to be involved in this initiative and to support good community cohesion through football especially amongst the African Diaspora Community” He pledged that his company will fully support the tournament, fulfil its obligations and that this was the beginning of a long term relationship.
The ANCUK is one of the biggest community football tournaments in the UK. It has been running since 2009 attracting thousands of spectators. The tournament is supported by the FA and affiliated to both London and Essex FA Counties. The tournament has grown in stature; it’s now in partnership with various statutory organisations including Kick It Out, a Racism eradication group.
The 2014 African Nations Cup UK football tournament preliminaries will start on 31st May at West Ham Memorial Grounds situated on Memorial Avenue E15 3BD from 11AM respectively. The finals will take place on 14th of June 2014 at Terrence McMillan Stadium on Prince Regent Street E13 8SD. However, this year’s tournament will be preceded with a new concept of U15s Junior Tournament taking place on 8th of June 2014. Uganda, Nigeria Somalia and Morocco have all registered teams to participate in the junior football tournament.
There will be plenty of entertainment at the tournament venues organised by the award winning Rollers Club which is the biggest African BBQ Centre in the UK. They will be variety of food stalls on sight from ethnic community groups, drinks and music. Plans are underway to provide live performances from renowned local African Artist and DJs. All preliminaries will be free of entry except for the finals where admission will be for £5 for adults and £2 for children.
The draw ended on a very exciting note when all the participating countries were asked to join in solidarity for a group photo shoot in front of the media. Most notable were Sports Face, Royal TV, Destiny TV, BEN TV, Pauline Long TV, Vision TV Uganda and Nigerian News watch
In winding up the momentous occasion, Mr Marshall Gore, Tournament Director and Master of Ceremony gave a touching vote of thanks. Mr Gore thanked everyone for their efforts in attending the draw and most importantly our host The FA and Ethiopian Airlines, the tournament sponsors. He said that one day it was his dream that the tournament will be played in Wembley Stadium and beamed live on national TV in the UK.
The stage is now set for the biggest African Diaspora football extravaganza before the World Cup. Many are tipping Ghana Black Stars to defend and regain their title in style. But make no mistake, the beauty of football is that everyone will always have a chance! Now Come and support your country. Your country needs you now! We are all winners.
Special Thank to Ethiopian Airlines our Sponsors
For more information, please contact African Nations Cup UK on:
E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: Office on 02036438462, Danny 07869572846 or Marshall Gore on 07828068585 respectively for more information about the tournament. We are still looking for willing volunteers
Submitted by Communication Team: www.Africannationscupuk.com