Kenya will be looking tentatively over their shoulders at neighbours Uganda when the WCQs get going in New Zealand on January 13.
Warm-ups apart – Kenya play Hong Kong and Nepal, Uganda face UAE and Canada – Kenya will be eager to see how their neighbours fare against second-ranked Netherlands, whom they meet in what could be a final group 'B' crunch match on January 23.
Kenya, meanwhile, themselves meet Uganda at the romantically named Mt Maunganui at the tip of New Zealand's North Island on January 19. Before that, they hope to see off Papua New Guinea on the opening day, January 13, at New Plymouth; then Namibia on January 17.
Uganda themselves face arch-rivals Namibia, with whom they have a love-hate relationship dating back some years, on January 21 at Mt Maunganui, where they play all their games except that against PNG, at New Plymouth, on January 16.
But, according to the ICC rankings for the competition, all roads should point to Lincoln, South Island, for the 'cruncher' between Kenya and the Netherlands on the 23rd.
With only two World Cup places up for grabs, it will be the group winners and the winners of the other group, 'A', in which UAE are favourites, who will go through to join co-Associates Ireland and Afghanistan, who are both already through.
Kenya: Rakep Patel (capt), Steve Tikolo, Ragheb Aga, Duncan Allan, Irfan Karim, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Thomas Odoyo, Lameck Onyango, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Hiren Varaiya.
Uganda: Davis Karashani (capt), Frank Nsubuga , Hamza Saleh, Raymond Otim, Richard Okia, Farouk Ochimi, Brian Masaba, Patrick Ochan, Benjamin Musoke, Lawrence Ssematimba, Philemon Selowa, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Abram Mutyagaba, Roger Mukasa, Charles Waiswa.