That 15-time champions, Uganda Cranes, are the undisputed kings of Cecafa football is not in doubt.But clashes between the Cranes and neighbours have hardly been short of storylines.October 2011 quickly come to mind when Kenyans came here and suffocated their neighbours to a goalless draw at Namboole when a win would have handed Uganda a 2012 Afcon slot.
Uganda and Kenya are pooled in the same Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying group, together with another fierce rival in Rwanda.
Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry, who led Rwanda to the 2016 Chan quarterfinals, will lead his boys against the Amavubi Stars at least thrice this year.
The two first come up against each other in Doula in Cameroon this month in the 2021 Chan finals.To prepare for that, McKinstry and Cranes – thanks to an invitation from hosts Cameroon – are battling three other Chan finalists in a build-up mini-tourney in Yaounde.
Not to be outdone, or rather to also prepare for Chan, Rwandan FA – Ferwafa – have organised their own build-up mini-tournament.
In this tourney, the Amavubi Stars will face Namibia and Congo starting January 7 to January 11 in Kigali.As the build-up to Chan finals intensifies, Uganda will remember that 2004 Afcon qualifying tie at Namboole, where the Amavubi Stars edged the Cranes 1-0.Advertisement
The match was characterised by chaos after Cranes players accused Rwandans of using ‘local magic’ or juju, with literal running battles raging on the pitch.
In Cameroon, the Amavubi’ Stars will be featuring in their fourth Chan finals, with the 2016 edition, where they reached the quarterfinals, being their best outing.Ugandan open their Chan campaign on January 18 against Rwanda at the Stade de la Réunification in Douala.