By TITUS MAERO(DN): The quest for semi-final slots in Group ‘B’ of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup intensifies sunday when defending champions Uganda Cranes face off with Ethiopia in their last group match at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega.
Both teams, along with Burundi, have a chance of securing the top and second positions on the standings, given the results they have so far posted in their last two matches in this regional tournament.
This encounter will most certainly be a nail-biting one.
Uganda, being defending champions, and having won the crown 14 times, might be slight favourites.
They lead the standings with four points after playing two matches.
Uganda have the same points as Burundi but the former has a superior goal difference of four against Burundi’s three.
Ethiopia are third with three points from two outings.
Uganda will also go into the match motivated by the fact that they have not lost a single match in their two outings.
Uganda coach Moses Basena made it clear that he would be going for nothing short of victory.
No injury concerns
“Our opponents are good in attacking. But we shall attack also, while at the same time defending,” said Basena.
Uganda had a goalless draw with Burundi in the opening match before the Cranes went ahead to thrash South Sudan 5-1.
On the other hand, Ethiopia, under tactician Ashenati Bekele, won their first match 3-0 against South Sudan but lost 4-1 to Burundi in their second match.
Speaking at Kakamega High School during their training session, Bekele said so far they have not had any serious injury concerns.
“We shall go into the match with our minds fixed on winning it,” he said.
In attack, he is likely to start with Tilahun Abel, Dukele Dawa and Abdela Sani who all proved scorching in the two encounters they featured in.
What makes the tournament more competitive is the fact that only the best two teams from each group advance to the semi-final knock-out stage with no quarter-finals being played.
In Sunday’s match, a Uganda victory would push their points tally to seven and if Ethiopia win, they would have six points from three matches.
But the matter is likely to be complicated further if Burundi beat South Sudan Monday.
This would push their points tally to seven from the three group matches.
Group ‘A’ status
In Group ‘A’, Rwanda bowed out with a 2-1 win over Tanzania’s “Kilimanjaro Stars” at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County with 19-year-old APR striker Nshuti Innocent striking the “Amavubi Stars” ahead in the 18th minute.
Oman-based Daniel Lyanga equalized a minute before the half hour mark but Birahimire Abeddy came off the bench to grab the winner in the 65th minute.
The Antoine Hey-led side have collected three points in four games finishing bottom of the five team group.
Tanzania, who have a slim chance to reach semi-finals, stay fourth on two points with a game to go against hosts Kenya.