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CECAFA event starts: Experienced islanders face region’s youngest nation

FOOTBALL By -FEVERPITCH REPORTER | November 27th 2013

BY FEVERPITCH REPORTER

Harambee Stars goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng’ during a training seesion with the national team. Stars begin their Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup campaign today.  [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO / STANDARD]

Zanzibar and South Sudan open this year’s Senior Challenge Cup at Nyayo National Stadium when they battle it out at 2pm.

Both teams will be looking for a positive start in the competition knowing very well that this will boost their chances of making it to the last eight.

In terms of experience Zanzibar have lots of it considering their constant participation in the regional tournament and this should boost their chances in the opening match.

Last year, the team made it all the way to the quarter-finals continuing a good record inspite of many challenges.

The tiny island is yet to be recognised by Fifa which means they can only take part in the regional tournament where they always give their best year in year out.

For victory, Zanzibar will look to experienced goalkeeper Ali Mwadini. He has remained impressive in all the competitions and this year will be no exception.

Upfront, the team has Mkanga Ali and Ali Mohammed to lead their goal hunt.

South Sudan may be inexperienced but this is what will give them an advantage as their opponents may make a mistake of underrating them and could pay dearly for this.

This is just the second time that South Sudan are  taking part in the regional tournament after being admitted as a member of the regional body last year.

Elsewhere, history will be made in Machakos tomorrow when the newly-refurbished stadium hosts two matches of this year’s regional senior tournament.

The new stadium was opened on Saturday after Sh10million in development costs.

Apart from Nyayo Stadium, it remains the only other venue where preliminary matches of the competition will be held, although officials indicated that Nakuru and Kisumu may also host some matches.

Machakos will host two matches tomorrow. The first match will be between Burundi and Somalia which kicks off at 2pm, while the second one is between Tanzania and Zambia. (see also opposite page)

Machakos will host even more matches than the Kisumu and Mombasa Municipal Stadiums which have been allocated just a few quarter-final matches.

Both venues were also under renovation. Kisumu is yet to be completed.

It is not yet clear whether other venues will be slotted in to host some of the preliminary matches especially after the local organising committee indicated that Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium may be considered.


 

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