MAINLAND soccer side, Kilimanjaro Stars face a must win situation against their brothers Zanzibar Heroes today, to remain in contention for the 2017 ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup silverware.
Going into the match to be played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Kenya, Kilimanjaro Stars Head Coach, Ammy Ninje said charges will bounce back after a disappointing start to this year's campaign.
Kilimanjaro Stars played out to a disappointing barren draw with Libya in second match of Group A on day one of the regional tournament at the Kenyatta Stadium last Sunday. Ninje, a former Hull City Academy Development coach, picked one point in his first match since he took over at Kilimanjaro Stars last November, despite the Mainlanders' slow start in the first half.
"Against Libya, we played well but surely it wasn't a pleasing result to us but we will work to iron out the shortcomings we observed in the opening match," he said. Ninje took some positives against Libya, in which the team had a good cohesion from the rear to attack only that they need to take their chances.
Stars will need to put up a big fight to post positive result in today's game so as to put themselves in a good position to progress into the next stage of the tournament and escape an early elimination. Kilimanjaro Stars will have to be at their best to beat Zanzibar Heroes, who showed plenty of qualities during their 3-1 win over Rwanda's Amavubi at the same venue on Tuesday.
Midfielder Mudathir Yahya put Heroes ahead in the first half but Muhadjiri Hakizmana pulled level immediately after the restart. Issa Juma restored Heroes lead before Kassim Khamis sealed the victory for Hemed Morocco's charges.
While Kilimanjaro Stars will be looking to earn their first win in the tournament, the Heroes will be targeting to maintain their winning formula as well paving their way to the next stage. Victory for Zanzibar Heroes will see them going at the top of the group with six points deposing hosts Kenya, who will not be in action today until Saturday, when they will face Zanzibar.
Kilimanjaro Stars and Zanzibar Heroes match will precede the game between Rwanda's Amavubi and Libya, which will take place at the same venue later on the day. The match will be a do or die for Rwanda as a defeat will see them shown an exit door.
Ninje charges are placed fourth in the group with a point from one match. Host Kenya top group A with four points from two matches, while Zanzibar are second on three points from one game. Guest side Libya, are third on two points from two matches, while Rwanda are placed bottom of the group without a point from two matches.
After today's encounter, Kilimanjaro Stars next outing will be on Saturday, when they will confront Amavubi of Rwanda. It might be a formality game, especially if the Rwandese loses today against the 'Mediterranean Knights'.
In group B playing the matches in Kakamega, there will be only one game in which Ethiopia will face Burundi's 'Intamurugamba' who will be battling for the group top position. Ethiopia top group B with three points, following their 3-0 victory over South Sudan on Monday.
They are two points ahead of Burundi and defending champions Uganda Cranes, who fought to a barren draw in the opening game early this week. Tomorrow will be a rest day for group A, while in group B Uganda Cranes will play against South Sudan with Moses Basena's side targeting victory to keep alive their title defence campaign.
All participating nine teams have already tasted the piece of action with Zanzibar and Ethiopia recording best starts with respective 3-1 and 3-0 victories over Rwanda and South Sudan.