The 2008 Cecafa Kagame Cup champions Tusker face Zanzibar's Mafunzo today in their opening Group 'B' match as they seek to win the second successive regional club championship.
Sammy Omollo's side has been in high spirits since their arrival in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on Sunday and are quietly confident of progressing from the 3-teams group, with home side Azam as the other member of the pool.
Going into the game, the brewers are behind both Azam and Mafunzo, who drew 1-1 in their opening encounter to share a point each. The Kenyan champions are considered among the favourites to go far in the tournament. The brewers will be keen to get all the three points from the game in a bid to relieve them the pressure of having to win their final game to progress into the knockout stages. Coach Omollo's side believe their recent acquisitions among them winger Joshua Oyoo will be key to their ambitions against the Zanzibar side. "The new players are more motivated to help us do well in this tournament but so are the others, most of whom were not in the team that lifted the cup four years ago. That gives me the belief that we can do well here," opined Omollo.
Tusker's strongest point will be their defence marshaled by a group of four players, who have played alongside each other for most of the season in the league. They include Joakins Atudo, Humphrey Okot, Joseph Shikokoti and Isaack Otieno, backed by a goalkeeper of the highest standard at his level Boniface Oluoch. Mafunzo though will rely on the support of their brothers from the mainland of Tanzania as they look to qualify from this tricky group. They have already proved they can stand toe to toe against the big boys by holding Azam. Chamazi Juma, the scorer against Azam, will be the man to watch from the Island of Pemba team.