Bar on four occasions in the last 10 Cecafa editions, hosts have always made the final, with all – except Rwanda in 2005 – winning the title.
Uganda have won all their two of the six times a host nation reached the finals in the last decade, with Ethiopia, the Cranes semifinal opponents in Addis Ababa today, last winning the title as hosts in 2004.
The previous two editions have all been lifted by hosts. Uganda edged Kenya 2-1 in Kampala three years ago while the Harambee Stars beat Sudan 2-0 in Nairobi in 2013. The tournament was not held last year after organisers failed to find a host.
So when the Cranes get to the Dstv Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup penultimate action against the Walya Antelopes this afternoon, they will attempt to ensure there is no host in the final for the third successive time.
“We want to squeeze the last cell of ourselves and throw on the field of play to get a result,” Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic told Daily Monitor.
“Everyone knows that Ethiopian supporters are some of the best in the region having imported European style of team supporting. “When you play a very good team made of individuals with good ball control, then crowd becomes their extra playmaker.” The Serbian, who twice coached St George of Ethiopia, added: “Together with high altitude weather and three more players that I have no right to mention they (Ethiopia) are becoming a serious challenge for any team playing them.”
However, the 46-year-old knows he has the resources to hurt the hosts, who Uganda thrashed 3-0 in a friendly in Kampala last year in the two teams’ most recent meeting. “But with all due respect to all above, I have absolute trust, confidence and belief in our players and the work we have done. We shall give it our best,” added Micho.
Micho is armed with an attacking array that includes skipper Farouk Miya and Caesar Okhuti, the duo having scored five times between them.
Uganda have scored seven goals against two up until now while Ethiopia have netted four and conceded two.
The first semifinal will have Rwanda, who eliminated Kenya, face Sudan, the latter having ejected South Sudan. The final is due Saturday in Addis Ababa.