NAIROBI, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Champions Kenya will put their title on the line during this year's Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup, which opens in Uganda on December 7.
Head coach Francis Kimanzi faces another test to prove his credentials and convince the fans he is capable of leading the country back to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in 2021 in Cameroon. To do that, he needs to retain the regional tournament, which has attracted 12 teams.
Kenya are in Group C of the Senior Challenge Cup together with Tanzania, Zanzibar and Djibouti.
CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye says the level of competition in the region has improved and Kenya will find it hard to defend its crown.
"We had four teams making the finals of 2019 AFCON in Egypt. They are Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi and all the four will be in Kampala for the tournament," said Musonye on Monday. "The tournament is a good platform for the teams to gauge their players ahead of the next international break in March."
However, the tournament will be without Rwanda, who have opted out of the regional championship citing financial constraints. This comes after the country also pulled out of the 2019 CECAFA U17 boys tournament held in Uganda, and most recently the Women's Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.
In the absence of Rwanda, Musonye confirmed that they have allowed guest side Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to return to the tournament. DRC will be in Group B, which also has Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, while hosts Uganda head Group A that also features Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea.