By Gilbert Wandera
Kenya have landed a date with champions Sudan in their first match of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup which kicks off on December 31 in Uganda.
Both Kenya and Sudan have qualified for the third and final round of the World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and the tournament could act as a build-up.
The draw for the tournament was conducted yesterday in Kampala. The ten participating teams have been drawn into two groups.
In group ‘A’ are hosts Uganda, Tanzania,Rwanda, Zanzibar and Somalia.
The second group has Kenya, Uganda,Eritrea, Burundi and Djibouti. Ethiopia who are serving a Fifa suspension have been left out of the draw.
The two-week tournament will be held in three venues, Jinja, Nambole and Kampala’s Nakivubo Stadium.
Eritrea and Djibouti play in the tournament’s opening match on December 31 in Jinja at 1.30p.m before Kenya takes on Sudan in the second match from 4p.m.
Uganda eliminated in the quarterfinals in Dar es Salaam last December in a tournament Sudan went on top beat Rwanda in post-match penalties to lift the trophy for only the third time in their history.
Uganda with nine wins is the most decorated country regionally followed by Kenya who have won the trophy five times.
Harambee Stars won it the last time in 2002, but after 19-year drought.
The last four preliminary matches of the tournament will be aired live by sponsors GTV.
Also to be aired live are the semi-final and final matches to be played between January 11 and 13.
This year the tournament has been pushed to the last week of December after many members associations complained that holding it in November would not have been possible because most local leagues were still going on.