The annual competition is expected to be held at different venues in Kenya during its 50th independence anniversary celebrations from the British colonial rule and Poulsen is looking forward to the tournament with optimism.
He said they have had good preparations and vowed that his charges will do the best and take matches as they come, saying further his team selection was based on merit.
Kilimanjaro Stars are pooled in group B with Burundi, Zambia and Somalia.Poulsen has called up Gor Mahia goalkeeper Ivo Mapunda, the former Taifa Stars goalie during Brazilian Marcio Maximo’s era and promising youngsters Ramadhan Singano (Simba), Hassan Dilunga, Elias Maguli (Ruvu Shooting), Faridi Musa (Azam), Joseph Kimwaga (Azam) and Juma Luizio from Mtibwa Sugar in the squad.
The Danish coach has also included lethal strikers Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu of TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and has handed a call-up to little known Azam and Ruvu Shooting defenders Ismail Gambo and Michael Pius respectively.
Kilimanjaro Stars, who last won the Cup in Dar es Salaam in 2010 under coach Jan Poulsen, will begin their campaign on Thursday when they take on COSAFA champions Zambia ‘Chipolopolo’ at Machakos Stadium.
The full squad: Goalkeepers: Deogratius Munishi (Yanga), Ivo Mapunda (Gor Mahia, Kenya) and Aishi Manula (Azam).
Defenders Erasto Nyoni, Himid Mao, Ismail Gambo and Said Moradi (Azam), Kelvin Yondani (Yanga) and Michael Pius (Ruvu Shooting).
Midfielders: Athuman Idd and Frank Domayo (Yanga), Amri Kiemba, Haruna Chanongo and Ramadhani Singano (Simba), Hassan Dilunga (Ruvu Shooting) and Salum Abubakar (Azam).
Strikers: Elias Maguli (Ruvu Shooting), Faridi Musa and Joseph Kimwaga (Azam), Juma Luizio (Mtibwa Sugar), Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu (TP Mazembe, DRC) and Mrisho Ngassa (Yanga).
The team is expected to travel to Kenya next Monday ready for the event.Meanwhile, CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye and hosts Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman Sam Nyamweya yesterday morning led the Local Organizing Committee members in launching the 2013 edition of the CECAFA Senior challenge.
The tournament will be played in Nairobi, Machakos, Mombasa, Kisumu and Mumias with preliminary matches all set to be played in Nairobi and Machakos with all member nations having confirmed participation.
During the launch, pay TV Company GOtv announced USD 125,000 (about 200m/-) sponsorship commitment towards the tournament that places them as the title sponsors of the region’s biggest soccer extravaganza.
Musonye has, however, urged more sponsors to come on board and chip in towards ensuring the tournament is a big success because the Local Organizing Committee requires more money.
“I appreciate the support from GOtv and SuperSport, they have always been there for us and as CECAFA we want to assure you we will do everything possible to ensure the tournament is successful,” Musonye said.
“I also want to call on those who were not sure that the tournament will take place to jump on the bus before it is too late,” he added.
GOtv’s Felix Kyengo said during the sponsorship launch: “By virtue of being the sole sponsors, GOtv and SuperSport are reinforcing the ongoing commitment to the Kenya football landscape as a loyal and long standing friend.
“Our subscribers are in for a treat as we entrench our local content strategy ahead of the analogue switch off slated for later this year.”
All partners, GOtv, CECAFA, SuperSport and FKF urged Kenyan fans to set aside dates and attend the matches in order to have a successful event.
“The biggest sponsors of Kenyan soccer are the spectators and we urge our Kenyans fans to come out in large numbers throughout the tournament,” said Nyamweya.
“We have spread it to many cities so that we give all Kenyans an opportunity to watch other nations play at their backyards.”
The tournament will be covered live courtesy of SuperSports beaming the matches across the African continent while partnering with KBC as the host broadcaster. Uganda is the record winners of CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup with an overwhelming 13 titles.