Z`bar take on Zambia as Kenya host holders

Rain drenched Uganda forward Emmanuel Okwiri (R) and Abdallah Homud of Zanzibar battle for possession during the last Group `C` match of the Cecafa Challenge Cup at Mumias Sugar sports complex on Saturday.

Hosts Kenya goes head-to-head against holders Uganda in the first quarter-final clash of the East and Central African Senior Challenge Cup championship at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi today.

The other quarter-final pairing for the day will be between hottest title contenders Zambia and hard to beat Zanzibar at the same venue, earlier this afternoon.

Kenya worked above the call of duty to see off Ethiopia by a 2-0 goals comprehensive victory in a tense Group A final match played on Saturday at Nyayo Stadium.

Zanzibar sealed off their quarter-final berth after holding holders Uganda to a barren draw in a rain soaked Mumias Sports Complex Stadium on Saturday.

Uganda, unbeaten in their Group C based in Mumias, will have to prove that their 1-0 win that brought them onto the podium for the record tenth title last January is not a fluke.

Kenya, a host team that have stayed without the Challenge Cup title since their last triumph in 2002, have an arduous task to please their home fans.

Uganda might be cursing to meet the tournament hosts at this stage that would probably jeorpadise their title retention bid.

However, Uganda has maintained their squad that played brilliantly in last edition’s final to finish with unbeaten run.

Zanzibar on the other hand, are facing hottest contenders Zambia in a match they would like to excel and revive hopes of winning the title for the second time since 1995.

Two other quarter-finals will be played tomorrow as Mainland side’s Kilimanjaro Stars face Eritrea, a team that has never won the Challenge Cup before, let alone reach the finals.

The final quarter-final clash will be between Rwanda and Zimbabwe who featured in the same group during the preliminary stages.

Rwanda had beaten their opponent by a lone goal on Saturday and tomorrow’s clash will be almost like a replay with Zimbabwe possibly plotting to avenge the defeat.

Four other teams have been eliminated and these are Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.

Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda are the only teams that have qualified into the last eight berth without losing a match at group stages.

While Zambia and Rwanda maintained perfection without dropping a point enroute to the quarter-finals, Uganda dropped two when they played Zanzibar in their final group match on Saturday.

Winners of each quarter-final for the respective days will meet against each other in the semi-finals to be played on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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