Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Mainland women’s soccer team, Kilimanjaro Queens, will launch their Cecafa Challenge Cup title defence campaign against South Sudan on November 14.
The Group A match will take place at the Azam Complex on the outskirts of the city, according to the fixtures released by the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) yesterday.
Kilimanjaro Queens and South Sudan are in Group A alongside Burundi and Zanzibar. Group B consists of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Zanzibar and Burundi will also face off on November 14 at the same venue. The Queens will swing back into action on November 16 to face Burundi.
They will wind up their group stages campaign on November 18 against Zanzibar.
Team coach Bakari Shime said yesterday that he is optimistic that his young ladies will go perform impressively in the tournament.
“We are weighing all teams equally. Being the reigning champions does not mean that we will easily win the tournament,” Shime said.
“We need to be focused as other nations also target the trophy,” he added.
Currently, Kilimanjaro Queens are undergoing residential camp in the city ahead of the championship.
The team comprises 20 players, according to Shime, who is assisted by Edna Lema.
Half of the players are from Simba Queens, one of the top women’s outfits in the country.
The players are Janeth Shijja, Vaileth Thadeo, Harrieth Shijja, Zubeda Mgunda, Fatuma Issa, Julie Singano, Mwanahamisi Omary, Opa Clement, Thabea Hamdani and Dotto Tossy.
Others are Amina Ally, Tausi Abdallah, Happiness Hezron, Anastazia Nyandago, Irene Kisisa, Lucia Mrema and Neema Charles, all from Young Princess.
Also on the list are Najat Abbas, Deonisia Minja, Anastazia Katunzi, Asha Rashid and Stumai Abdallah from JKT Queens.
The inaugural Cecafa Women’s Challenge Cup was held in Uganda in 2016 and Kilimanjaro Queens emerged champions.
Last year, the regional championship took place in Rwanda, where the Tanzanian girls successfully retained the title.