Old Rivalry At Namboole as Uganda, Kenya Face Off

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In short
Seventeen Cecafa trophies will be on display when Uganda Cranes and Kenya’s Harambee Stars renew their rivalry in the finals at Namboole Stadium in Kampala on Saturday.

Seventeen Cecafa trophies will be on display when arch-rivals Uganda Cranes and Kenya’s Harambee Stars meet in the finals at Namboole Stadium in Kampala on Saturday.

The two sides renew their rivalry after qualifying for the finals of the 2012 Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup on Thursday to set up yet another East African derby in the finals.

The Uganda Cranes beat Tanzania 3-0, while Kenya struggled to see off Zanzibar 4-2 in penalties after the game had tied 2-2 after 120 minutes at Namboole Stadium.

The defending champions Uganda Cranes will be looking for their record 13th trophy after emerging winners in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2011. The Harambee Stars have won the title five times in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 2002.

At Namboole, striker Emmanuel Okwi scored for Uganda in the 11th minute, while Robert Ssentongo added two goals in the 52 and 71 minutes to seal the win. The Ugandan defenders marked out Tanzania’s leading strikers in the tournament Mrisho Ngassa and John Bocco, ensuring that the Cranes went into the final without conceding a goal.

Shortly after the game, Uganda’s captain Hassan Wasswa said their focus is now on winning the final game on Saturday, an indication that there was no time to celebrate the good performance against Tanzania.

The Ugandans will be looking for revenge with the October 8 2011 clash in Kampala still fresh in their minds. After an impressive campaign, Uganda needed a win going into the last game of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. But in Kenya at Namboole stadium, they found determined opponent who were fighting for nothing but pride. The game ended 1-1 and the Cranes missed a chance to qualify for the finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The two sides have met before in Cecafa with Uganda having advantage over their bitter rivals. In the 1982 finals in Kampala, the game ended 1-1 after normal time with the Harambee Stars going on to lift the trophy after a 5-3 penalty shoot-out. In the 2008 finals at Namboole, a lone goal by Brian Umony won it for Uganda against Kenya, as Coach Bobby Williamson started Cecafa dominance.

In this year’s tournament, Uganda has already drawn the first blood by beating the Harambee Stars 1-0 in the opening game on November 24. In the past two years, Kenya has been exiting the tournament in the first round and are now looking to end a 10-year wait for Cecafa glory.
 
The Cranes have an advantage going into the finals. That Williamson’s men registered a convincing win against Tanzania without striker Brian Umony means they are not short of options. They are the only team in the tournament yet to concede a goal.
 
It will be a home affair meanwhile as Zanzibar take on Tanzania in the play-off for the third place.
 
The winning team will take home US$30,000, while the second placed team takes US$20,000 and the third placed side US$10,000.