The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations, CECAFA, yesterday released groups of competing teams in the continent’s oldest regional championship.
The championship has so far attracted a total of twelve teams including holders, hosts and twelve-time record winners Uganda
The draw of the team groups was held in Kampala yesterday as confirmed by the CECAFA secretary general Nicholas Musonye.
Group A teams comprise holders Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan.
Sudan leads Group B teams that have Burundi, Somalia and Mainland Tanzania.
Invitees Malawi, Rwanda, Eritrea and the 1995 champions Zanzibar concludes the groupings as unveiled by Musonye yesterday.
The Mainland team has been grouped with Somalia in the same way the 2008 groups were made when the championship was staged in Kampala from December 2008 through January.
The annual championship kicks off on November 24 through December with East African Breweries behind the sponsorship.
Each group would produce two teams to play in the last eight and two other third-best-placed teams will join the fray depending on their performance in the preliminaries.
South Sudan is the new team in the championship following the birth of the nation last year.
Djibouti, who is a regular member of the CECAFA block, has pulled out of the race.
Uganda won the title for the 12th time after dethroning Mainland Tanzania when the tournament was staged in Dar es Salaam last December.
Mainland has won the title thrice since the tourney was revived in 1973 in Kampala.
Previously, the Challenge Cup was known as Gossage Cup and it involved Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Uganda before more membership diversification that saw inclusion of other countries.
Mainland Challenge Cup title wins were in 1974, 1994 and 2010 under coaches Marijani Shaaban, Syllersaid Mziray and Jan Poulsen, respectively.
Mziray and Marijani are dead.
Mainland team’s camp is now based in Mwanza for training under coach Kim Poulsen.
The team is expected to board a flight to Kampala few days ahead of the kick off date.
The full fixture of the tournament will be released by the organizers later this week or early next.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN