FOOTBALL–The Uganda Cranes will start the defence of their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup today against a Burundi side that has never won the title since it was branded in 1973.
The Cranes who have won the title on 14 previous occasions won the last event organised in 2015 in Ethiopia as the defeated rivals Rwanda 1-0 in the finals game and will hope to kick-start this year’s campaign with a triumph of tournament light weights Burundi.
“All is so far going to plan and hope the case remains the same until the completion of the tournament,” said Interim Cranes head coach Moses Basena as he addressed the press after Sunday’s training session.
“We are fortunate that all the players are in good physical condition and hopefully the same applies to their minds,” he added.
He said both the young and mature players who have taken part in both the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers are ready and exited about the challenge that lies ahead of them.
“We are the defending champions and that means a lot is expected of us starting from the word go when we take on Burundi and I hope the pressure doesn’t catch up with us,” he said.
At the 2015 edition, Uganda had the worst of starts when they lost 2-0 to Kenya in the first game and will be hoping nothing of the same happens to them this time round.
The last time both teams met at a CECAFA tournament, Uganda defeated Burundi 1-0 at the Awassa Stadium in Ethiopia thanks to a Frank Kalanda second half header, to seal qualification to the quarter finals.
Burundi’s last best performance came in 2014 in Ethiopia when they lost 3-0 to the hosts in the finals game and have been struggling to even make it out of the groups on the last few occasions.
Yesterday, host Kenya got off to the best of starts as they defeated 2015 finalist Rwanda 2-0 thanks to strikes by Dancun Otieno and Masoud Juma in the first half to take a commanding lead in group A.
The other group A game ended scoreless as guests, Libya and Tanzania could not find ways of separating them selves.
Uganda’s team that travelled to Kenya for CECAFA:
Goalkeepers: Isma Watenga (Vipers SC), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA FC), Ikara Tom (Kirinya Jinja SS).
Defenders: Wadada Nicholas (Vipers SC), Joseph Nsubuga (Sc Villa Jogoo), Isaac Muleme (KCCA FC), Aggrey Madoi (Police FC), Timothy Awanyi (KCCA FC), Shafiq Bakaki (Vipers SC), Bernard Muwanga (Sc Villa Jogoo).
Midfielders: Tom Masiko (Vipers SC), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC), Mutyaba Muzamiru (KCCA FC), Karisa Milton (Vipers SC), Mucureezi Paul (KCCA FC), Allan Kateregga (KCCA FC), Allan Kyambadde (Sc Villa Jogoo),Saddam Juma (KCCA FC).
Attackers: Nelson Senkatuka (Bright Stars FC), Derick Nsibambi (KCCA FC), Hood Kaweesa (Police FC), Daniel Isiagi (Proline FC).
CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup 2017
Uganda vs Burundi
Kakamega – Kenya