The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the biggest football tournament in Africa, kicked off on January 13 in Cote d’Ivoire.
Tanzania will start their campaign on January 17 with a Group F match against 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinalists Morocco, and later play Zambia and DR Congo.
Although Uganda did not make it to the competition, Ugandans have come out rooting for their neighbors Tanzania to perform well. “We must support our brothers from Tanzania because they are now carrying the regional flag in Cote d’Ivoire,” said Grace Nabachwa, a football supporter in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Uganda captain Khalid Aucho, who plays for Young Africans SC in the Tanzania Premier League, has also made it clear all support is for Tanzania at the AFCON. “I wish Tanzania all the best in the AFCON 2023. Tanzania, you have all our prayers,” said Aucho.
Fellow Ugandan Fred Musaasizi told Xinhua that although Tanzania qualified for the AFCON at Uganda’s expense, he will nevertheless be backing Tanzania. “These are our brothers and we must support them throughout the tournament,” added Musaasizi.
Josephine Adoch, another big football fan, also told Xinhua that she will be rooting for Tanzania. “The AFCON is a very big and interesting tournament which brings together the best in the continent, and it’s always good to have a side to support. I will be supporting our brothers from Tanzania because we have a lot in common and play in the same Zone,” she added.
Former Uganda striker Mujib Kasule also voiced his support for Tanzania. “Since we are all from the same Zone we shall support Tanzania. But they need to take every match like a final,” explained Kasule.
Ethiopia and Sudan are the only teams from the CECAFA Zone to ever win an AFCON title, in 1962 and 1970 respectively. Egypt has won a record seven AFCON titles, while Cameroon have won five tournaments, and Ghana four.