All systems go in Kisumu’s Moi Stadium when the last four of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup gets underway this afternoon.
The first semifinal encounter is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 15:00 (2pm Kigali time) between hosts Kenya and hard nuts Burundi.
Kenya will be hoping to book a spot in the final but to do so they will have to be clinical against the Burundians who have proved their solidness and excellence in this tournament.
Kenya finished their group with eight points from four games as winners and will want to claim their third win in the competition.
On the other side, Burundi finished Group B with five points from three matches and will want to keep their momentum going.
They beat Ethiopia 4-1 and drew twice against Uganda and South Sudan, but to reach the final of the regional tournament comes as a huge boost.
Burundi have reached the semis for the first time in their history and will hope to lift their maiden trophy.
However, facing the hosts, who will want to dethrone the Cranes as champions, will not be easy as Kenya will count on their home support.
The second semi-final is slated for Friday as Uganda Cranes will be looking to defend their title when they meet Zanzibar.
Uganda are the current holders of the East African regional tournament and a win over Zanzibar will ensure a passage into the final.
Coach Moses Basena has led his men in Group B as they collected five points from three matches in their campaign following a 5-1 win over South Sudan and drew twice against Burundi and Ethiopia to finish at number one in the group.
Looking at the runners-up in Group A, Zanzibar are a surprise package in this year’s edition and will want to go all the way to the final.
They finished at number two, behind hosts Kenya, in the group with seven points after four matches. They beat Rwanda 3-1, Tanzania 2-1, drew against the hosts and lost to Libya.
Meanwhile, the Cecafa technical study group confirmed that 16 games have been played in the group stage of Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup with a total 30 goals scored.
The matches have been entertaining, with only three red cards dished out so far with recipients being Rwanda’s Soter Kayumba and Uganda Cranes duo of Isaac Muleme and Timothy Awany were the recipients of the red cards.
South Sudan, Rwanda and Ethiopia have been the whipping boys in the tournament, shipping in eight, six and five goals respectively in the group stage.
Group ‘B’ matches produced the most number of goals at 16. So far, Zanzibar stood out as the surprise team in this year’s edition of the tournament, having beaten the odds to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since 2012 when the Heroes finished third after beating Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars on penalties.
The final match will be played on Sunday at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County. It will be preceded by a third-place play-off at the same venue.
CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup 2017
Thursday, Dec 14
Kenya vs Burundi (Moi Stadium, 2pm)
Friday, Dec 15
Uganda vs Zanzibar (Moi Stadium, 2pm)