Hosts and reigning champions Uganda might have to negotiate some tough games if they are to sail through to the last eight of the 2012 edition of the CECAFA Tusker sponsored tournament. The Cranes were drawn in a strong group at the draw conducted on Monday. Uganda was drawn in Group A in what is easily the group of death in the 36th edition of the CECAFA Tusker sponsored challenge cup that will be played in Uganda from 24th November to 8th December at the Mandela National Stadium Namboole.
The reigning champions Uganda is joined by 2013 Africa Cup of nations qualifiers Ethiopia, neighbors and Arch-rivals Kenya and South Sudan who will appear as the under-dogs in the group. Other groups will feature Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia in group B while Rwanda, zone guests Malawi, Zanzibar and Eritrea will face-off in group C of the tournament that features twelve nations. During the press briefing to announce the draws and fixtures, CECAFA general secretary Nicholas Musonye said the CECAFA tournament is a tool of unity for the region.
"CECAFA holds the region together and we should respect that by taking part in the tournament," he said. "I thank the hosts Uganda and I hope for the best organized event. To our sponsors Tucker Lager we are very grateful. CECAFA as a tournament has grown big over the years but should not have grown like that without our sponsors," Musonye added.
Uganda is the record holders of CECAFA with 11 titles and they are seeded number one for this tournament. The 2012 tournament organizing committee (LOC) headed by Eng. Moses Magogo who is also Fufa Vice president administration told the press conference that they are ready to host the tournament with everything in place. According to the LOC, they expect over 500 guests (teams' delegations and other officials) for the 15-day long tournament. Somalia became the first team to arrive in Uganda for the tournament with their side jetting into Uganda on Sunday 11th November. The rest of the teams and delegations are expected to have arrived in Kampala by 21st November.
The tournament will be played at Namboole stadium with only two games -match 16 (Somalia Vs Tanzania and match 17 (Malawi Vs Zanzibar) scheduled to be played at the War memorial stadium Nakivubo in the Kampala City. The three groups' winners and second placed teams plus two best qualifiers from all groups will qualify for the quarter finals to be played on 3rd and 4th December. Semi-finals will be played on 6th while the final and third place matches will be played on 8 th of December.
Groups for 36th CECAFA Tournament
Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan.
Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia.
Rwanda, Malawi, Zanzibar and Eritrea.