Saturday November 24 2012

Cranes highest ranked team in Cecafa

Cranes striker Umony is closed down by a sea of Kenyan shirts the last time the two teams met - a 2011 decisive Africa Nations Cup qualifier.

Cranes striker Umony is closed down by a sea of Kenyan shirts the last time the two teams met - a 2011 decisive Africa Nations Cup qualifier. The two teams clash today although Kenya’s squad will a whole world different from the team of the Marigas, Wayamas and Oliechs.  

Regional fireworks: The stage is set for this year’s Tusker CECAFA Challenge Cup. A total of 26 games will be played among the 12 participating sides starting today. SCORE’s Darren Allan Kyeyune brings you all the team profiles and statistics of the tournament’s 36th edition

Nickname: Cranes
FIFA Ranking: 86
Coach: Bobby Williamson
The Cranes are not only the hosts but also reigning and record champions with 12 titles. Being at home and the highest Fifa ranked side in the tournament, they are favourites to clinch their 13th title.

Nickname: Harambe Stars
FIFA Ranking: 130
Coach: James Nandwa
The Harambe Stars will miss coach Henri Michell who remained home to coach the country’s Chan side. They are pitted with the hosts and the last time they faced off, they denied the Cranes a chance to qualify for this 2012 African Nations Cup edition with a goalless draw on October 8 last year. Kenya will want to break a ten-year deadlock, having last won the trophy in 2002.

Nickname: Black Lions
FIFA Ranking: 102
Coach: Degu Debebe
The Black Lions are the only side from the region who have made it to next year’s edition of the Afcon in South Africa. But they have sent out a second string side with less experienced players to compete over the two weeks in Kampala.

South Sudan
Nickname: Bright Stars
FIFA Ranking: 200
Coach: Zoran Dordevic
It is South Sudan first time at the Cecafa regional showpiece. They are the lowest FIFA ranked side in the tournament (200th) and finishing outside the group stages will be ahuge positive for the Bright Stars.

Nickname: Falcons of Jediane
FIFA Ranking: 102
Coach: Negash Tekli
Owing to their strong league and participation at the recent Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon early this year, Sudan could reach the latter stages of the competition.

Nickname: Taifa Stars
FIFA Ranking: 134
Coach: Kim Poulsen
They hosted the past two editions and they will do without home advantage as they seek their fifth title.

Nickname: The Swallows
FIFA Ranking: 128
Coach: Lofty Naseem
The Swallows will be in for their 13th tournament. They are yet to lift the title but will be keen to go past the group stages.

Nickname: The Ocean Stars
FIFA Ranking: 193
Coach: Sam Ssimbwa
Early this week, Somalia recruited the services of local side Sports Club Victoria University coach Sam Ssimbwa. Ssimbwa led Express FC to the Uganda Super League crown last year and being home, he could do wonders for the Ocean Stars.
They have played several friendly games with Ugandan league sides ahead of their opening encounter with Burundi tomorrow. Somalia’s adventure will be a learning one ultimately.

Nickname: Amavubi Stars
FIFA Ranking: 122
Coach: Milutin Sredojevic
Despite suffering a 3-2 shootout loss following a 2-all draw in the final against Uganda last year, the Amavubi Stars had looked impressive throughout.
Coach Sredojevic was named coach of the tournament. They will want their trip back to Kigali to be worth their second silverware. Sredojevic is a man who knows Ugandan football too well.

Nickname: Zanzibar Heroes
FIFA Ranking: Not ranked
Coach: None
Zanzibar’s only trophy came here in 1995. They beat Uganda B by a goal to nil and their return to Kampala will be boosted by this history.

Nickname: Red Sea Boys
FIFA Ranking: 187
Coach: Negash Tekli
The Red Sea boys are yet to win a Cecafa crown. They last took part in 2009 and this will be their tenth appearance. They are famed for a neat passing game.

Nickname: The Flames
FIFA Ranking: 102
Coach: Kinnah Phiri
They are three-time Cecafa winners were entered as visitors from neighbours down south COSAFA. It will be their 21st appearance at the tournament.