Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania/Uganda: Hopeful Stars Off to Uganda

MAINLAND's national soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars, jets off on Friday for Kampala, Uganda ready to launch their campaign at the Council of East and Central Africa (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup kicking off on Saturday.

Stars head coach Kim Poulsen believes his lads are ready for their opening Group B match against Sudan on Sunday. The Dane feels that the champions of 2010 have the ability to turn the table on anyone in this competition.

Kilimanjaro Stars 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, pundits see Stars making past semis. In the last year's edition that was hosted in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro Stars finished fourth after losing the third place play off 1-0 to Sudan.

Kim, who will be leading the Mainland outfit for the first time, said his team is physically and psychologically prepared to take up any challenge when they commence their campaign at the regional showpiece. The Danish tactician said the team has had at least one week of intensive preparations, which he described as one of the best and this the coach is convinced has toughened his charges to deliver.

He added that the Kilimanjaro Stars squad boasts of players of high quality and insisted the side have all reasons to perform well as he looks to emulate the success of his countryman and namesake, Jan Poulsen, who guided the Stars to regional glory in 2010 in Dar es Salaam.

After the disappointment of missing out on the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in South Africa, Poulsen would definitely be determined to excel in the regional championship. Kim's sentiments was echoed by defender Kelvin Yondan, who said the players were in good mood and spirit and could not wait for the Kampala show to get underway.

The Young Africans' no nonsense defender promised Tanzanians a spirited performance, saying 'they should expect victory.' Kilimanjaro Stars could not have hoped for a better group, having been slotted in Group B alongside Burundi, Somalia and the 2012 African Cup of Nations participants, Sudan--who are on paper the group's strongest opponents.

After the tricky opening test against Sudan, Kim's men will play Burundi in their second match three days later before winding up the group stage on December 1 against Somalia. The opener on Saturday, from 1500hrs local time will be a Group 'A' tie between Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Thereafter, host Uganda will take on Kenya from 18:00hrs 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 will be played on December 8 and all games will be live on SuperSport TV at Namboole Stadium.

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