Kartileh v Mathare 4pm
Atraco v Merreikh 7.30pm
ATRACO will have their hands full tonight when they lock horns with El-Merreikh on the opening day of this year’s Kagame/Cecafa Club Championship in Khartoum.
The game between the Rwandan champions and their Sudan counterparts will be preceded by the tournament opening fixture between Kartileh (Djibouti) and Mathare United (Kenya).
Atraco have already played the Sudan giants this year, losing 2-1 on goal aggregates to prematurely exit the African Champions League.
After that win, Al Merreikh, who also boast of two Cecafa Club titles; in 1986 and 1994, will fancy themselves as slight favourites.
However, Atraco will seek inspiration from their head coach Sam Timbe, who has a decorated record in the competition. Timbe has won two Kagame Cup trophies; SC Villa (Uganda) in 2005 and Police in 2006 and believes that withstanding the huge task before Atraco, the taxi-men side can still cause an upset.
“We have prepared well for this competition and the players are ready to execute. We have faced Merreikh before so we know what to expect,” the Ugandan tactician said.
Atraco’s only concern is the fact that they are without their first choice goal keeper Jean Luc Ndayishimiye.
The young shot stopper was forced to stay with the national side; Amavubi Stars as they prepare for Sunday’s make or break 2010 World/Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt.
After today’s game, Cecafa action continues tomorrow with four games on cards. In Group B, Tanzania’s Prisons take on Benadir of Somalia while TP Mazembe clash with Uganda’s KCC.
In Group C, Burundi’s Inter Stars face Zanzibar’s Miembeni before another sterner between Hey El-Arab of Sudan and defending champion Tusker.
After the group stage, the best two teams from each group will be joined by the best two losers at the quarter final stage.
After an increase in prize money, the winner will pocket $50,000 while first and second runners-up will settle for $30,000 and $20,000 respectively.