By James Bakama
CECAFA Nile Basin Cup
El Merreikh v SCVU
SCVU 1 Maliaka 0
Al Merreikh 3 Police 0
Victoria University are a win away from a quarter-final slot in the inaugural CECAFA Nile Basin Cup.
Uganda’s representatives, who take on Sudanese giants Al Merreikh tonight in Khartoum, got off to a winning start by edging Southern Sudan’s Maliaka on Friday.
Should Morley Byekwaso’s side overcome the home side they will become the first team to reach the last eight in the two week competition.
A Maliaka player tackles a SCU player
Mourshid Juuko was SCVU’s hero on the opening day getting the winner 12 minutes into the match.
It could have been a much bigger margin in Mathew Odong hadn’t been wasteful. Al Merreikh to the contrary made good use of their chances beating Zanzibar’s Police 3-0 in Group A’s second match.
Uganda’s win was undermined by injury of utility player Noah Semakula who had to be rushed to hospital.
Also in action today will be Police against Maliaka at 5.30pm and Group C’s Dkhil (Djibouti against Ethiopia’s Defence.
The competition is the brainchild of regional soccer body CECAFA and the Sudan Football Association. It is aimed at giving international exposure to more teams in the Nile Basin region.
Previously only domestic league champions and their runners-up or winners of knock-out [Cup] competitions got the chance to play continental football – the [Africa] Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup.
The tournament gives opportunity to second or third placed teams in domestic leagues, or runners-up in the Cup competition, to have a taste of competition across the borders.
Meanwhile Last minute travel hitches caused the no-show of Somalia side, Elman. It was impossible to fly Elman from Mogadishu, through either neighboring Djibouti, Kenya or Ethiopia, in time.
As a result, a competition draw was re-done and fixtures revised.