Kenya's representatives to this year's Cecafa Kagame Cup, Tusker arrived in Dar-es-Salaam on Sunday, ready to start their quest to lift this year's crown.
The brewer, who are the 2008 regional club champions, are locked up in a 3-team Group 'B' alongside Tanzanian side Azam and Mafunzo of Zanzibar. Sammy Omollo's men will not be in action until Thursday when they face the Island club.
Azam and Mafunzo drew 1-1 in their opening Group 'C' fixture to leave Tusker needing only victory to get into the quarter finals of the tournament, which kicked off over the weekend. "We are under no illusion about the enormity of our task. As you have seen already this tournament can throw surprises at you when you are not mentally prepared and if you do not take your opponents serious," said Omollo, whose 20-man squad is fully fit and raring to get their tournament started.
The championships began with surprises on Saturday with hosts and defending champions Yanga losing their opening fixture 2-0 to unfancied Burundian side, Atletico.
Yanga's defeat if it came as surprise to the football mad Dar supporters, then Sunday's defeat to their arch rivals Simba to URA threw the spanner in their works in Tanzania's bid to hold onto the regional club title. "We are disappointed with this result because it puts us under even more pressure to go and win our next match against Ports. Our job now is very clear. We must win our next two games," opined Simba SC and former Sofapaka midfielder Ugandan Musa Mudde.
Burundi's Vital'O Club have produced the performance of the tourney so far, hammering Ports of Djibouti 7-0 to take control of Group 'A' and leaving Simba with some catching up to do in a bid to negotiate their way into the knockout phase. The poor form exhibited so far by the Tanzanian clubs and the bitter rivalry pitting the two Dar clubs-Yanga and Simba will quietly give visiting teams including Tusker the confidence that they can challenge to win the US$60,000 winners prize purse.
Tusker squad: Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch, George Opiyo and Samuel Odhiambo; Defenders: Humphrey Okoti, Joseph Shikokoti, Joackins Atudo, David Ochieng, Luke Ochieng; Midfielders: Peter Opiyo, Jerry Santos, Fredrick Onyango, Joseph Mbugi, Joshua Oyoo, Maurice Odipo, Patrick Kagogo; Strikers: Dennis Mukaisi, Obadiah Ndege, Allan Katarega, David Nyanzi and Andrew Murunga Omollo.