Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi says the team will be going for the title when the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup kicks off this weekend in Uganda.
Kenya, who won the title in 2017 by edging Zanzibar on post-match penalties, begin their campaign against Tanzania on Sunday and not Djibouti as earlier scheduled. Kimanzi is confident his squad will defend the title.
"Everyone who was called up to the camp has reported and is training hard for the tournament. We are looking forward to retaining the trophy we won in the 2017," Kimanzi said.
AFC Leopards midfielder Whyvonne Isuza, who is among the senior players in the second-string side, echoed Kimanzi's sentiments. "We are preparing well for the championship and we will do our best to defend the trophy."
Harambee Stars started residential training on Monday at Utalii grounds and are set to leave for Kampala on Friday ahead of their first game on Sunday. They are in Group C alongside Djibouti, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Anthony Wambani, a former Bandari and Kibera Black Stars midfielder who now turns out for Swedish third-tier side Vasalunds IF, says he's looking forward to giving his best.
"Every player wishes to play for his country and I am very happy to get this chance. I know we are the defending champions and that raises the stakes. I love the camaraderie in camp and I promise to do my best to help the team," he told Nation Sport.
Meanwhile, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan have followed in the footsteps of Ethiopia and withdrawn from the tournament due to logistical challenges. Libya who had expressed interest in taking part as a guest team will also not be in the tournament that now has only nine nations.
The tournament will be held at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo, Kampala and not Jinja as earlier scheduled. It kicks off on Saturday and will end on December 19. All the matches will be aired by Azam TV.
Group A: Uganda, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti
Group B: Tanzania, Sudan, Kenya, Zanzibar