Ethiopia have been handed a tough draw for the upcoming Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup in Uganda.
The Waliya Antelopes – the only East and Central African country to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations – have been pitted against Kenya, newcomers South Sudan and defending champions Uganda in Group A.
The draw for the tournament, which will be held between 24 November and 6 December, was made on Monday at the Serena Hotel in Kampala by Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye.
Ethiopia will play the opening match of the competition against South Sudan.
Uganda coach Bobby Williamson told BBC Sport that playing Ethiopia and Kenya in the same group makes it very difficult but he hopes that his youthful team can stand up to the challenge and retain their title.
Williamson last week omitted from the event some of his senior players, including skipper Andy Mwesigwa, and opted for the younger players who he said need more exposure.
Uganda and South Sudan drew 2-2 in Juba four months ago in a friendly to usher the newcomers into top-flight football.
While releasing the draws and fixture, Musonye said he expects a very competitive tournament because he believes many of the teams have improved over time.
He also explained that Cameroon had been not been included as a guest side because the West Africans wanted to send their Under-23 side.
“We are sure Malawi will spice up the event and people in the region will enjoy fantastic football,” he added.
Rwanda, who were runners-up last year in Tanzania, have been draw in Group C alongside Malawi, Zanzibar and Eritrea.
Sudan who were at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations are up against Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia in Group B.
Meanwhile, Federation of Uganda Football Association vice-president Moses Magogo dismissed reports the organisation owes a big debt to Namboole Stadium which would could prevent matches from being played at the venue.
“We are all clear with Namboole and the event will take place there,” he said.
Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan
Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Somalia
Rwanda, Malawi, Zanzibar, Eritrea