The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Amavubi Will Struggle to Repeat 2011 Feat

AFTER previewing the top three favorites in the first part, in this second part of our preview for the forthcoming Tusker Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup 2012 in Kampala, Uganda, we take a look at the prospects of the remaining nine teams.

Tanzania

Champions in 2010, the Kilimanjaro Stars have the ability to turn the table on anyone in this competition. They have been drawn in a relatively easy group, which they're highly likely to head with relative easy.

With group matches against Burundi, Sudan and Somalia, I give them a beacon of hope to reach the semis. They lost 1-0 to Sudan and finished fourth last year.

Coach Jan Poulsen has to blend a team with a mixture of youth and experienced. Veteran goalkeeper Juma Kaseija, winger Musa Ngosi and captain Shadrack Nsajigwa will be the key players.

Malawi

The Flames are 3 time winners of the competition and as invitees, coach Kinnah Phiri's intention is at least to make it to the finals. The crucial match is against Amavubi Stars.

With Zanzibar and Eritrea completing the Group C, it will be interesting to see how this group pans out especially that all teams are of equal mold.

Malawi are using the Cecafa tournament as part of their preparation for the 4th 2013 COSAFA competition in Zambia.

Sudan

Won it thrice, coach Mohamed Abdalla failed to qualify for Nations Cup; Cecafa will be a good trial as he builds a new team for the future.

With players like Khalefa Ahmed, Muhannad Tahir, and Hamid Nizar, Mudathir El Tahir, and captain Haitham Mustafa Karar, he has a strong team to go all the way. Sudan will be favorites in this group (B).

Rwanda

Amavubi Stars reached the final last year and lost to the Cranes. The two scorers Meddie Kagere and Olivier Karekezi, who played a big role, are missing in Kampala.

It is going to be interesting to see how coach Micho goes about his business with his most experienced players, now that he has put faith in young blood.

Had the Serb won the tournament last year, he would be under less pressure this time but since he didn't, Rwandans will be hoping that his team can go a step better and win a second regional title since their last and only success in 1998.

Zanzibar

Victors in 1995, after a 1-0 against the hosts, Uganda. They will be hoping history repeats itself, but don't give them a chance of getting out of groups stage. If they can either beat Eritrea or Malawi or earn any kind of draw against Amavubi, there is hope.

If I'm to tip them to do just that and maybe even take one step further. It will be interesting as to who leads this open group.

Burundi

They have plenty of players with skill; consider the ones in the Rwandan league, Cedric, Makezi, Pappy Faty, Karim Ndagijimana, Fuadi Ndayisenga and ex-Police striker Ruudi Mavugo. There is talent, power and technique to unnerve most defenses.

Their single problem is to do more with personality than teamwork. The furthest they've reached was 2004 as runners up. I hope they mean business this time.

Eritrea

The Red Sea Boys Cecafa has been a 'One-Way Ticket Out' for seeking asylum. In 2009, 12 squad members failed to report for the return flight in Kenya. They only managed a 4th position in 1994.

Somalia

The Ocean Stars will struggle as they always but at least they're ever present.

Torn by civil war, Mogadishu Stadium is occupied by African forces, so they decided to camp in Kampala for the past two weeks. Optimistically, it will help in morale-building. They might win the Fair Play Award like in 2010 and probably be the first to exist.

Southern Sudan

The Bright Star became Fifa's 209th member in May, and much as their chances look slim, players like James Moga, Richard Justin, and Captain Richard Justin can defy odds. There is not some much to hope from them but only to wish them the best.

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