NAIROBI, Kenya, July 14 – Calvin Biko and Duncan Ekasi have been called up to the Kenya 15s team for Saturday’s Victoria Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare.
Kelvin Omiyo who came on as a replacement in last weekend’s win over Uganda will fill the inside centre berth in place of Patrice Agunda who will miss the clash due to school commitments.
“Ekasi is a young player who has been training with us for the last two years and has never gotten an opportunity so this is his time to seize it,” said Kenya coach Michael Otieno after naming the team on Wednesday.
Impala and Cheetahs fullback Vincent Mose has been recalled to the side in place of Victor Sudi who also misses the tour due to work commitments.
With the Victoria Cup already secured, climbing further up the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings is foremost on Otieno’s mind with his team currently perched in 35th place, their highest position ever.
“We have never beaten Zimbabwe on their home turf which is one of the challenges we are facing. We also want to improve our ranking which is what the players are focused on,” said Otieno.
He admits now that the pressure is on them to continue in the same vein so that they don’t slip up in upcoming matches.
“Life becomes harder as you win because as you move higher up we must raise our game. We must face that challenge and continue playing well,” said the former Kenya fullback.
“I believe the team has gelded well. We just need to weed out the basic mistakes that have been hampering us especially conceding territory because at the level at which we are playing, if we give away a scrum within our 22 we are dead,” he added.
“Our line out was also a bother and we want to sort it out because Zimbabwe have very good jumpers.”
Otieno was also full of praise for his forwards but would also like to see his team gain more territory so that the pack will be able to create the platform.
He also acknowledged the amount of depth the squad has had this year which has made cases of player unavailability easier to deal with.
“We’ve been having a squad of 35 players. This is why when some players are unavailable we don’t struggle so much,” said Otieno.
1.Nzioka Muema 2. Edwin Alubaka 3. Daniel Kiptoo 4. Anthony Mutai 5. Ronnie Mwenesi 6. Andrew Amonde 7. Oscar Ouma 8. Lawrence Buyachi 9. Moses Kola 10. Nato Simiyu 11. Calvin Biko 12. Kelvin Omiyo 13. David Ambunya 14. Peter Abuoga 15. Innocent Simiyu
16. Vincent Ongera 17. Joel Nganga 18. Kevin Umbuge 19. David Mogere 20. Duncan Ekasi 21. Felix Wanjala 22. Vincent Mose