NAIROBI, September 8 – The national sevens rugby team will start training for the Rugby World Cup Africa Zone qualifiers next month.
Fifteen teams including Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Cote d’ Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Botswana and Swaziland are expected to take part in the qualifiers which will take place between October 31 and November 1 in Tunisia.
Three teams will qualify for the World Cup set for Dubai in March 2009.
Although on the pitch sessions will start on October 1 at the RFUEA grounds, a player by player physical audit which included a mandatory rest has been in progress since August.
The first camp is scheduled for October 9-11 at a venue yet to be decided.
Because of the expected humid conditions in Tunisia, the team’s management has proposed a training camp in Mombasa from October 17-19. Team selection will be done on October 21 and the team is expected to depart on October 28 for Tunisia.
Meanwhile, Impala substitute forward Alvin Rachier scored a try at the end of the second period of extra time to knock out Kenya Harlequin FC 33-31 at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa Ground as the Zain Enterprise Cup kicked off last weekend.
The buzzer had already gone signalling the end of play when, Impala won the ball with the last scrum-down and Rachier barged over the line to deny Quins a double. It was a crucial try, which crowned a remarkable comeback by Impala who seemed dead and buried at half time when they trailed 9-25.
Quins were cruising in the first half with fullback Chris Oduor, Andrew Raudo and Enos Otieno scoring a try each. Jude Thumbi added two penalties and conversions while Moses Kola replied with three penalties for Impala.
But a pep talk at half time by Kenya under-19 coach Mitch Ocholla and 15’s assistant coach Charles Ngovi galvanized Impala into action in the second half, which they dominated.
Kenya Harlequin coach Edward Kinyany was at loss of words. “We expected a tough game and it went down to the wire. The second half was bad and we got punished for silly mistakes,” he said.
His opposite number, Ngovi was delighted. “We had a very bad first half but recovered well in the second,” he said
In the other matches, Nondescripts RUFC led 27-7 at half time and beat visiting UTL Kobs from Uganda 49-26 at the ASK Jamhuri Show ground to book a date with Mean Machine in the quarter finals.
Strathmore University failed to travel to Uganda giving G4S Pirates a passage to the quarter final where they play Mwamba at the RFUEA grounds.