**UPDATE** Zanzibar tame South Sudan
**UPDATE** Ethiopia holds Kenya
Zanzibar Vs South Sudan – 2pm – Live from Nyayo Stadium, SS9E
Kenya Vs Ethiopia – 4pm – Live from Nyayo Stadium, SS9E
Fireworks is expected this Wednesday afternoon at Nyayo stadium, Nairobi when hosts Harambee Stars of Kenya take on Walyas of Ethiopia in the second match of the GOtv Cecafa Cup 2013.
Earlier South Sudan’s Bright Stars, making only their second appearance in the competition face off with Zanzibar Heroes in the opening match of the tournament.
Kenya who last won the championship in 2002 will hope to kick start their campaign on a winning note but it won’t come easy against Ethiopian side in blistering form beaming with confidence following their recent run in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers that saw them reach the play offs; the only side from the region to reach that feat.
Kenya assistant coach James Nandwa who guided the team to last year’s finals before losing to Uganda however says that there is nothing special with Ethiopia and believes his side can topple them as it happened last year in the groups when Harambee Stars beat up on Ethiopia 2-1. He also cited home advantage as another aspect they will put to use.
“There is nothing too special about them. They are good on the ball, swift, but physically we are better and that will play to our advantage. Then don’t forget the fact that we are playing at home,” observed Nandwa.
Coach Amrouche will bank his hopes on defenders David Owino and Azam star Joackins Atudo to keep things tight at the back with Peter ‘Pinchez’ Opiyo and Brian Osumba in the middle while KPL top scorer Jacob Keli, Gor Mahia’s Bob Mungai Kiongera and Edwin Lavasta plus Tusker FC striker Jesse Were battle for starting roles upfront.
Ethiopia Coach Sewnet Bishaw named a relatively weak squad relatively different team from the one that played Nigeria in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers but will expect his star men Fasika Asfaw,Thok James,Yusuf Saleh,Fuad Ibrahim ,Salhadin Bargecho and Moges Tadese are in sparkling form to tame the hosts.
Ethiopia are ranked 95th in the world, 23 places above Kenya but rankings will have place on the pitch when the battle commences.
In an early kick off that sees Zanzibar battle South Sudan, Francis Khamis of South Sudan believes his side will put up a better performance than what happened in Kampala last year and insists that must start by beating Zanzibar.
“I’m sure that the South Sudan team will provide better performance than in Kampala in 20012 when it was our first time to take part. Now we have good players, some from outside South Sudan, and a good team. We must show it against Zanzibar.”
Meanwhile, Zanzibar skipper Khamis Mcha Khamis spoke with caution as his side will venture into an unknown territory since the two sides have never met but says they want to reach the finals and better last year’s performance where they clinched third place.
“It is going to be a big game as we have never played against them before. First game ever between the two teams, but we want to win it. Last year we clinched the third place but for the current edition we want to reach the Final and win the Cup”