Weary Kilimanjaro Stars face blood brothers Zanzibar Heroes in the second match of the Group C to be played at Mumias Complex this afternoon.
Actually, Kilimanjaro Stars are walking on tight rope to find a breakthrough before being knocked out of the regional championship.
The match is expected to kick off simultaneously with another clash of Group B as COSAFA champions Zimbabwe meet Eritrea at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. Zanzibar kicks off the match with great composure after collecting three points in their opening match against Burundi on Sunday.
It’s the Kilimanjaro Stars who are under pressure to win the match after succumbing to 2-0 loss at the hands of the tournament champions Uganda The Cranes last Sunday.
Zanzibar, with only two players featuring in the United Republic of Tanzania’s national team, Taifa Stars, will have to a seemingly arduous task to beat star-studded Mainland with bulk of the Stars players in their line-up.
Zanzibar have several times shocked Mainland in previous matches of the same tournament. It is not exactly not known what is in store for the isles side that breezed past Burundi in a match almost transformed into a practice session. Should Zanzibar make use of similar ammunition that rocked Burundi, Kilimanjaro Stars will be in deep trouble.
Coaches of either side have remained highly optimistic to win the encounter with Isles’ Hemed Morocco maintaining his stance to avenge last year’s 2-1defeat in Kampala. Uganda, Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania featured in the same group during the Challenge Cup previous edition in Kampala.
Taifa Stars coach Marcio Maximo, who also doubles as the Mainland tactician, had his boys flop in the Group C opener and have no option other than to win. The situation at the Kilimanjaro Stars camp is very delicate such that should the team lose today they will certainly bank on miracles to make quarterfinal progression.
Zanzibar need to win just one out of the remaining two matches to book a place in the last eight. Recovering from the 2-0 goals shock, Mainland team is in tight corner to meet satisfaction of their home fans who have started to lose confidence in the team and the coach alike.
Holders Uganda will be out of action as they await their second match tomorrow against Burundi to weigh their quarterfinal possibilities. Mainland play their last group match against Burundi on Friday, two hours before Zanzibar conclude the group’s fixture.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN