• As Amavubi take on Cranes in Cecafa final
Orange Cecafa Challenge Cup
Third place playoff
Tanzania v Zanzibar 12:00 SS3
Uganda v Rwanda 15:00 SS3
NAIROBI – It is a case of David versus Goliath when Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars take on their archrivals Uganda in the final of the 2009 Orange Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup this afternoon at Nyayo national stadium.
There is no love lost between the two teams which is why today’s clash in Kenya’s capital city has far more reaching interest for either country than just winning the regional bragging rights.
While the Cranes are seeking for a record 11th Cecafa title, Amavubi Stars go hoping to win only their second regional crown since winning the 1999 edition held in Kigali .
Uganda are the defending champions and go into the game as slight favorites but Rwanda is the in-form team at the moment after winning all their five matches and will be seeking to leave Nairobi with a clean record of six wins out of six.
However, interim coach Eric Nshimiyimana admits the Ugandans will provide his youthful side the toughest test of the tournament.
“The game against Uganda is surely going to be our toughest test by far in the tournament but we are ready to pass it just like we done in the last five matches,” the acting coach told Times Sport yesterday at the team’s hotel in central Nairobi.
He added, “Nobody gave us a chance to be where we are but our togetherness and commitment has brought us this far and I hope our good run of form continues against Uganda.”
The last time the two teams met in a Cecafa final in 2003 in Khartoum-Sudan, the Cranes came out 2-0 victors but an upbeat Nshimiyimana is hoping for a change of fortune and believes his team has all the ingredients needed to do another bit of history today.
He said, “Games between Rwanda and Uganda have always been a very tight affair that’s why I think any one can win tomorrow’s game. Uganda is playing some good football and will be hard to break down but my players are very much aware of that and we shall find a way of breaking them down.”
Nshimiyimana’s experimental side has caught the eye of almost everyone at the tournament with their good passing game and organized play but the soft spoken coach doesn’t want to his player to be carried away by the applauds.
His Ugandan counterpart Bobby Williamson is preaching vigilance to his players.
He said, “We must not underestimate Rwanda because they’re playing so well at this tournament, we must be very careful.”
On their way to a 10th Cecafa title, the Cranes thrashed Amavubi 4-0 in the group stage last year in Kampala.
Rwanda never went past the group but this year, it’s totally a different story and when you bring the recent history between the two countries, whoever wins today’s battle will not only take home the regional bragging rights and the $30000 prize money but most importantly the psychological edge amongst the populace of the two neighbouring nations.
Probable starting teams:
Rwanda: J. Luc Ndayishimiye, Mao Kalisa, Donattiene Tuyizere, Amaan Uwirimana, Patrick Mafisango, JB Mugiraneza, Djamar Mwiseneza, Haruna Niyonzima, Tumaine Ndamunga, Yusuf Ndayishimye, Amin Mwizerwa.
Uganda: Hamza Muwonge, Simon Maasa, Godfrey Walusimbi, Andy Mwesigwa, Joseph Owino, Tony Mawejje, Dan Wagaluka, Owen Kasule, Geofrey Massa, Patrick Ochan, Stephen Bengo.