SIMBA striker Emmanuel Okwi has set himself the target of becoming the highest goal-scorer in the forthcoming CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup slated for Kampala, Uganda.
The regional tournament kicks off next Saturday and the Ugandan sensation, who plies his business with Mainland champions Simba, has set his sights on individual as well as collective glory with the defending champions Uganda Cranes.
Having scored five and four goals apiece in the previous two Tusker Cecafa Cup editions, Okwi is hoping for an even better tournament when the regional showpiece gets underway at Namboole with record 12-time winners - Uganda - facing rivals Kenya.
"I want to show that I have come with some good experience from the past and it is for us to show people that we are still capable," Okwi - Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor. "So I'm looking forward to scoring more than that this time round." Yet Okwi, in early 20s, knows he will not have it on a platter.
"Yes it is tight competition because all the strikers - Brian Umony, Hamis Kiiza and Robert Ssentongo - they are all good and can play but that depends on the coach." Uganda Cranes players enjoying moments of rare interaction with the fans during last Saturday's three hours of a fun-filled training session, spiced up with entertainment from singer Bebe Cool as Cranes at KCCA ground Lugogo.
The maiden Cranes Fans' Day event, organized by the recently- formed Uganda Cranes Initiative (UCI), coincided with the official start of the national team's preps for the regional meet. "It tells me a lot," admitted Okwi, who scored two goals in open play and a penalty in the shootout, "It tells me that we have a big fan base, from the kids to the old.
"So we feel we have to work hard, we need to keep the hope alive. It's (the fans arrangement) really lovely knowing that some people still support us although we've had some bad results. It is a big morale booster," the Simba star added.
Meanwhile, United Against Malaria will utilize the forthcoming three week CECAFA Tusker Challenge Cup to sensitize the public on the fight against malaria. FUFA Chief Executive Officer Edgar Watson and UAM team leader Kenneth Mulondo believe their partnership will succeed in fighting the killer disease in the region.
"Football is a language that can be used to spread the course against Malaria easily. We hope to have a Malaria free population," Mulondo said. Under the theme 'Kick Malaria out of the Region,' UAM also plan to distribute insecticide treated mosquito nets at Namboole.
It is the first time the campaign will take place during the tournament in Uganda after the same was successfully held in Zanzibar, Rwanda and Tanzania last year. Malaria kills over 3,000 children daily in Sub-Saharan Africa.