PREVIEW: Kenya, Ethiopia Renew Rivalry In Opener

The longstanding bitterness between Kenya’s Harambe Stars and Ethiopia will Wednesday be revived as the two open their campaigns for the GOtv East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup at Nyayo Stadium outside Nairobi.

Kenya’s Jockins Atudo (right) vies for the ball against Ethiopia’s Yousef Hassan Sallah during the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala in 2012. (Photo:Courtesy)
Kenya’s Jockins Atudo (right) vies for the ball against Ethiopia’s Yousef Hassan Sallah during the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala in 2012. (Photo:Courtesy)

South Sudan, making only their second appearance in the competition will earlier at 2pm face off with Zanzibar in the opening match of the tournament.

In last year’s competition in Uganda in which Kenya side reached the finals, they beat Ethiopia 2-1 enroute the finals where they lost to Uganda Cranes 2-1.

Ethiopia may have been the best performing side from the region over the last two years and qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa – the only team from the region to do so and were also the only side from the CECAFA bloc to reach the play off stage of the qualifiers to the 2014 World Cup where they were eliminated by Africa champions Nigeria.

Kenya, meanwhile, have been training at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani since last Monday after the end of  a very successful Premier League season.

At Kenya coach Adel Amrouche’s disposal is the country’s most lethal striker in Jacob Keli who is yet to play at senior level, he also has Brian Osumba who was voted the best midfielder and the safest hands in Jerim Onyango-the newly crowned goalkeeper of the year alongside David Owino “Calabar”, the country’s best defender.

Gor Mahia superstar Edwin Lavatsa is also on card to fire the Stars to victory over their northern neighbours

Ethiopia’s undoing today maybe in the fact that coach Sewnet Bishaw will pick from a relatively different team from the one that played Nigeria in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers last month.

Uganda start their title defence on Friday against Rwanda, who they drew with goalless in a friendly recently.

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