CECAFA COUNTDOWN -2!

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Like a comet, eons ago, destined for earth, Cecafa tourney on its destined path to East and Central Africa?

                                                                                           By Mugera Howard ,

                                                                                            22nd . Nov, 23.00pm

            Yes. True that. Little after Issa Hayatou, CAF president flags off the tourney, Harambee Stars take on arch rivals Uganda Cranes in Group A at 6 pm, November 24th local time. On paper, it’s CECAFA’s group of death but far from the Champions League group of death with ManCiteh, Madrid, Dortmund or Ajax jostling for a stage in the famed European nights. For us, on the East of Africa, many will dismiss CECAFA with just a casual laugh… Fear not! In comes “Chengafunga”, the new warrior from the East, for our football. Ahem! Ahemm… the Ugandan football scene has witnessed steady improvement. All credit to Bobby Williamson, tactician since 2008. Evidence enough, is their status as 3-time defending CECAFA champions and an impressive FIFA rank of 86. Before you say a word… just let us gets with it. All right?

Uganda Cranes during a previous Training session before a friendly match with, Image Curtesy of Google image

            Okay, class is in session and for those with attention-deficit; no “Inception” while we are at it. Understand that The Cranes, holders and host for a second consecutive time, hold the highest number of CECAFA titles. Falling just short of a baker’s dozen. Impressive! Put to mind that Kenya has nothing close to half that number…With prize money of a cool 75, 50 and 25 million for 1st, 2nd and 3rd position, that money-anticipating look, that lights the higher self should be alive in every squad. Credit to Musonye and his team.

Often from its origins as the “Gossage cup” in the 30’s and 60’s, down to 2004-05, CECAFA has largely been a Ugandan-Kenyan affair. Migingo derby. Lately though, Uganda have remained masters of the show. In our golden days, particularly 1998, Kenya boasted her finest FIFA rank of 68 but consequently punctured to a lowly 137 in 2007. That should have been the signal for the economic depression that was to come, tear down forex markets with the dollar trading at an alarming 107/= or something, later in Kenya! The last two times the Migingo derby was played resulted to disappointing goalless draws. However, this doesn’t demean the rivalry therein whatsoever. Rather, it should serve as a launch pad for a thrilling one and half hour viewing. Bob Williamson’s 20 man squad includes:

Forwards

Robert Ssentongo, Emma Okwi, Hamis Diego Kiiza and Brian Umony

 

 

Midfielders

Saidi Kyeyune, Geoffrey Baba Kizito, Joseph Mpande, Manko Kawesa, Moses Oloya and Brian Majwega.

 

Defenders

Denis Guma, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joseph Ochaya, Henry Kalengi, Isaac Isinde and Wasswa Hassan.

 

Goalies

Ali Kimera, Hamza Muwonge and Abel Dhaira.

Best Case Scenario

Best case scenario for both teams is emerging group winner. Theoretically, that is as close as it gets to a gate-pass to the semi-finals. For Group A winners, the route to the quarter finals involves an encounter with 2nd or 3rd best placed team of the tournament. Runners up then have to play their opposite number in Group C.

Did you know?

  • CECAFA is the successor to the “Gossage Cup” held 37 times from 1926 to 1966? After the Uganda match, Kenya next play South Sudan and Ethiopia in that order starting at 1500hrs on 27th and 30th November.
  • Only two matches, 16 and 17, will be played at the War Memorial stadium in Nakivubo, Kampala city? It will feature Somali versus Tanzania and Malawi pitted against Zanzibar
  • Harambee stars last played in the tournament in 2009? Francis Kimanzi was in charge then but eventually lost in the final by a solitary goal to the Cranes at the Nelson Mandela stadium. Kimanzi’s assistant then was James Nandwa.
  • The Uganda Cranes, current title holders, beat Rwanda 3-2 on penalties in Dar-es-Salaam to win the tournament in 2011?
  • A total of 50 matches have been played between the two countries. Kenya has won 12, lost 16 and drawn 22? In the process, Kenya has conceded 57 and scored 55 in these games.
  •  Kenya’s biggest win over Uganda was a 4-1 win in August 2004? Alternately our biggest loss was a 1-3 result whereas the highest draw was a 3-all affair.
  • Paul Kiongera Mungai of KCB, Laurence Olum of Kansas Sporting (USA) miss out on a first appearance in national gear, after being dropped in the final 20 man list? Only Martin Imbalambala makes a debut while Anthony Kimani of Mathare returns to the fold.

 

Follow @M. Howard on twitter.

 

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