MAINLAND's national soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars, got a relatively easy draw in the group stages of the Council of East and Central Africa (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup.
The Kilimanjaro Stars was drawn in Group B alongside Burundi, Somalia and Sudan--the only strong opponents in the group. Kilimanjaro Stars will launch their campaign in the tournament on November 25 against Sudan at the National Stadium in Kampala. They will play Burundi in their second match three days later before winding up the group stage on December 1 against Somalia.
The draw of the 36th edition of the annual regional championship to be held in Uganda from November 24 through December 8, 2012 was held yesterday in Kampala, Uganda. Host Uganda has been drawn in Group 'A' together with Kenya's Harambee Stars, 2013 Africa Cup of Nations bound Ethiopia as well as CAF's newest member South Sudan. Guest Malawi has landed in Group 'C' where they will meet Rwanda, Zanzibar as well as Eritrea.
The opener on Saturday November 24, from 1500hrs local time will be a Group 'A' tie between Ethiopia and South Sudan. Thereafter, host Uganda will take on Kenya from 1800hrs local time. Both games will be played at Namboole Stadium. There will be two games a day save for Saturday December 1, where there will be four games; two apiece in Groups 'B' and 'C'. The quarter-finals are on December 3 and 4, with the semi-finals on December 6.
The final is on December 8 and all games will be live on SuperSport TV at Namboole Stadium. Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye, who presided over the draws in Kampala, was confident of a successful tournament. "We have all the confidence that Uganda will put up a good show as hosts," he said. Malawi will be the only guest team in this year's tournament.
Three countries including Cameroon and Zimbabwe had earlier showed interest in participating in the same tournament but the regional organising committee picked out Malawi. Uganda are record holders of the championship as they look forward to excel at home and extend title haul to 13 times. Kilimanjaro Stars who last won the title in 2010 will be looking to win their fourth title since the inception of the regional tournament.
The tournament, which is sponsored by East African Breweries and officially named the 2012 CECAFA Tusker Challenge Cup, will see South Sudan participate in their first international football tournament. East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) through their Tusker brand, are the officials sponsors of the tournament to a tune of US$450,000.