DESPITE having a relatively quiet season by their standards, Atraco head coach Sam Timbe insists that the team is fired up for this year’s Kagame Cup which kicks off this afternoon with a clash between APR and Vital’O at Amahoro Stadium.
The taxi-men, who romped to last year’s title after edging Sudan’s El-Merreikh in the final (1-0), have been drawn in the toughest pool (C) alongside Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Kenya’s Sofapaka and Simba of Tanzania.
Simba are the record winners with six titles while URA came agonizingly close to lifting the title in 2007 and 2008 only to lose to APR and Tusker in the final but Timbe is optimistic his side can repeat last year’s heroics.
“No one gave us a chance last year but we did it so we can draw lessons from that. The team is in good shape and ready for the tournament,” the Uganda coach said.
Atraco, who now have a very slim chance of winning the Primus league title, open their campaign on Monday with a tie against Simba at Nyamirambo’s Regional stadium.
They then play URA on May 21 before wrapping up their group campaign against Sofapaka on May 23.
Pool A has APR, TP Mazembe (DRC), Vital’O (Burundi) and Telkom (Djibouti) while Pool B pits Rayon Sport with Mafunzo (Zanzibar), Heartland (Nigeria) and St.George (Ethiopia).
At the end of the preliminary stage, the top two sides from each group coupled with the best two third-placed teams will proceed to the quarter finals.
The winner will pocket $30, 000 while first and second runners-up will walk away with $20,000 and $10,000 respectively courtesy of President Paul Kagame.
Atraco’s victory last year was the biggest upset in the competition’s 34-year history not only because it was the taxi-men’s debut in the event but also because El-Merreikh had hammered Atraco 6-1 in the group stage.