The Walias of Ethiopia will be eyeing their first ever point in the history of the competition as they face former winners, DR Congo in their Group B opener on Sunday in Huye.
The Walias bowed out empty on their maiden attempt two years ago in South Africa, losing all three matches at the group phase and failing to register a score as well.
Against DR Congo, one of two sides to have qualified for every edition of the competition designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues, the other Zimbabwe; it is surely an uphill task for the Ethiopians, who are bent on making an impact on their second attempt.
A positive start is what either side will be looking out for, which will be vital to their continued stay in Rwanda but the Congolese have an upperhand if experience is anything to go by.
Though veteran goalie Muteba Kidiaba was denied the opportunity of being the first player to feature in four successive editions of the newest event on the CAF calendar, DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge can still rely on TP Mazembe stars like Joel Kimwaki, Merveille Bope and Jonathan Bolingi coupled with others for the perfect start they so desire.
Ethiopia’s build up saw them draw one-all with fellow finalists Niger in a friendly in Addis Ababa and appear ready for the challenge against a side boasting of an enviable record of being the winners of the maiden edition of the championship in 2009 in Cote
In the other Group B match, revenge will be on the table as Cameroon squares Angola. Both sides are making a return to the event after missing out on the previous edition two years ago, after their only participation in 2011 in
However, the Indomitable Lions have not forgotten the penalty loss to Angola at the quarters which cut short their once eventful campaign, and will be seeking to pay back the Palancas
Angola will go on to reach the final, before losing 3-0 to Tunisia, but have since failed to maintain their
An enterprising game is expected from both sides, who enjoyed a near perfect preparations towards the tournament. Cameroon was one of the first teams to arrive in Rwanda, holding the hosts one-all in a friendly in Rubavui before travelling next door to Uganda for a similar exercise which also ended barren.
For Angola, they come into the competition with a new coach, Jose Kilamba, after Romeu Filemon was given the sack barely two weeks to the start of the competitions.
DR Congo vs Ethiopia 13H00 GMT
Angola vs Cameroon 16H00 GMT