NAIROBI, August 19 – The national under-19 players arrived in Tunisia on Tuesday ready to battle it out in a tough Pool B of the Africa Rugby Confederation competition which starts on Thursday.,
Two players who were left in Nairobi were due to depart on Monday after collecting their passports.
Eric Kioko and Anthony Ngera secured their passports yesterday. Coach Mitch Ocholla made only one change in the traveling party by picking Joseph Abala instead of Ken Gitobu.
Kenya will start its campaign against Tunisia on Thursday before tackling defending champions Zimbabwe on Sunday. They wind up against Cote d’Ivoire on August 27.
Ocholla whose younger brother Owen is also in the team predicted a tough battle for the top place in the Pool.
“We have a good team but the Pool will be very competitive especially because we are playing against the hosts, defending champions and 1995 Rugby World Cup finalists Cote d’Ivoire,” he said.
Meanwhile, this year’s Enterprise Cup kicks off on September 6 with Nondies taking on UTL Kobs of Uganda at the Jamhuri Show Grounds.
Tanzania Twigas who played in this year’s Bamburi Rugby Super Series make a return to the oldest competition in the region. They play at home to Mombasa Sports Club in the first round.
Uganda’s UTL Kobs play against Nondescripts away while Kenya Cup League debutants Strathmore University travel to Kampala for a tough opening against G4S Pirates. Two Ugandan teams went into the hat last year but withdrew.
Last year’s winners Kenya Commercial Bank and finalists Mean Machine have a bye to the quarter finals and begin their campaign on September 13. The 2007 semi-finalists – Nakuru and Mwamba also have a bye to the quarter-finals.
Kenya Harlequin FC host neighbours Impala. Mean Machine will play against the winner between UTL Kobs and Nondies while Mwamba meet the winner between Strathmore and G4S Pirates.
The winner between Twigas and Mombasa Sports Club have a date with Kenya Commercial Bank while Nakuru will play the winner between Quins and Impala.
Under 19 squad: Eric Kioko, Dennis Karani, Anthony Ngera, Ryan Musumba, Mathew Musalia, Francis Kuria, Jacob Kamau, Mugambi Kithamba, Joseph Wachira, Kevin Mbuthia, Anthony Oyugi, Kennedy Isindu, David Okinda, Joel Ouko, George Mutuku, Lylle Muhandare, Ken Andola, Anthony Nyandigisi, David Ambunya, Oscar Otindo, Owen Ocholla, Patrice Agunda, Michael Wanjala and Joseph Abala.
Officials: Oliver Kituyi (team manager), Mitch Ocholla (coach), Gerald Omondi (physiotherapist).
Pool A: Namibia, Morocco, Uganda, Madagascar.
Pool B: Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire.
August 21: Namibia v Madagascar, Morocco v Uganda, Zimbabwe v Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia v Kenya; August 24: Morocco v Madagascar, Namibia v Uganda, Zimbabwe v Kenya, Tunisia v Cote d’Ivoire; August 27: Uganda v Madagascar, Namibia v Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire v Kenya, Zimbabwe v Tunisia.
August 30: Ranking matches