Football Cecafa Cup 2012 (November 24 – December 8 Uganda: The Ultimate Favourites
East and Central African Cup of Nations will kick off in Kampala November 24 with 12 teams that have been drawn in three groups. Hosts, Uganda, are tipped to be one of the favourites of the tournament. The timing of the tournament is perfect as it kicks off after the Afcon 2013 qualifiers and no Cecafa participating country, with the exception of Ethiopia, will be making the trip to South Africa next year. The competition in Kampala will also serve as a preparation platform for the 2014 African Championship (CHAN) for which only home based players are eligible. Countries like Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Malawi hope to make good use of the competition. This and other good reasons explain why the Cecafa Cup, organised every year, is eyed by countries even outside the region. This year, countries like Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe and even Botswana and Cote d’Ivoire manifested their interest to participate in the tournament as the organisers invite a guest country each year. Malawi, 2012 guests, are Djibouti’s successors.
This year’s hosts, Uganda, are drawn against Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia in Group A, easily described by sports pundits as “The Group of Death”. Uganda are equally one of the favourites and if confirmed, they would be their own successors to the throne. In 2011, the Cranes lifted the trophy after beating Rwanda in a penalty shootout at the finals in Dar Es Salam while Sudan beat Tanzania to be third place winners. This time, Kenya, who lost taste of the Cecafa Cup since 2002 will come back to make trouble for their opponents. Granted that the competition has mostly been dominated by soccer giants of the region but there have also been some upsets in the past such as in 1995 when Zanzibar disgraced Uganda in Kampala and made away with the trophy. And in 1999, Rwanda’s Team B humbled the Harambee Stars of Kenya at the finals. Three countries — Uganda (5 time winners), Ethiopia (3 time winners) and Sudan (2 time winners) — have been dominating the competition since 2000. And this year, all three teams are expected to reach at least semi finals of the tournament. All games will be played in just two stadiums that is the Nakivubo Stadium and the Namboole Stadium.
Group A: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan
Group B: Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Somali
Group C: Rwanda, Malawi, Zanzibar and Eritrea
November 24: Ethiopia -South Sudan; Uganda- Kenya
November 25: Burundi-Somali; Tanzania –Sudan
November 26: Zanzibar-Eritrea; Rwanda – Malawi
November 27: South Sudan- Kenya; Uganda-Ethiopia
November 28: Somali–Sudan; Tanzania -Burundi
November 29: Malawi-Eritrea;Rwanda – Zanzibar
November 30: Kenya – Ethiopia; South-Sudan – Uganda
December 1: Sudan – Burundi; Somali – Tanzania; Malawi- Zanzibar; Eritrea – Rwanda.
December 3: Quarter finals
December 6: Semi-finals
December 8: Finals and third place game
The last five final games
2007: Dar Es Salam: Sudan 2 Rwanda 2 (4 pen 2)
2008: Kampala: Uganda 1 Kenya 0
2009: Nairobi: Uganda 2 Rwanda 0
2010: Dar Es Salam: Tanzania 1 Côte d’Ivoire “B” 0
2011: Dar Es Salam: Sudan 2 Rwanda 2 (3 pen 2)