NAIROBI, Kenya, February 27 – National rugby 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater, has named six debutants for the upcoming Vodacom Cup in South Africa that runs from March 8 to May 17 while omitting members of the 7s squad from his travelling party of 30 players and six officials.
Edward Osekio (Lunch Bar Quins), Emmanuel Mavala (Homeboyz), Davis Chenge (Western Bulls), Martin Owila (Top Fry Nakuru), Robert Aringo (Impala) and Austine Gumo (Lunch Bar Quins) are the new call ups.
Captain Wilson K’Opondo, said come June during the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Cup that will act as the continental qualifier for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, they will strive to be at their best shape.
“This is a motivation factor for us as players, there are high chances for us to be scouted and play in the Western Province league.”
Team manager Wangila Simiyu, said the squad is ready and are not taking any chances as Kenya starts preparations for the 2015 World Cup qualifiers that will be held in June during the CAR Cup.
“The boys have been working hard ahead of this tournament where we are participating for the first time. The team is ready and we are going to South Africa to prepare for World Cup and not a picnic.
“Participating in this competition is a major boost for our players who will be exposed to the world. We need our players to play professional rugby, when they get contracts with established clubs in South Africa we will be happy since we know they will help the sport grow in our country,” Simiyu said.
The African champions will be looking to defend their title against hosts Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the round robin continental tournament with the official expressing confidence the side will clinch a berth for the World Cup in England.
“We need to play more build up matches apart from Vodacom Cup and motivate the boys ahead of the CAR Cup. There are coaches from South African national team who are ready to assist us.
“Based on our performance in CAR Cup and Tri-nations in Namibia last year, our chances are very high. We only need resources and support from the Government, in order to succeed,” he added.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee, said their target is to win all major titles in Africa including Vodacom, CAR Cup and Super rugby.
“When we win all this major competitions our nation will be a test playing nation and the likes of All Blacks, Samoa and England will come here to play.
“We know what we are supposed to do and we have set our bars very high, South African Rugby Union has been kind to us since we will play seven matches and five of them will be at home and that is advantage for us,” the KRU boss stated.
Meanwhile, Property developer Migaa unveiled a Sh13m (USD 150,289.1) to sponsor the shorts worn by the outfit during the Vodacom competition.
Kenya, who will be playing under the title Tusker Simba, is the only side from outside the host nation featuring in the tournament.
Tusker Simba XV squad to Vodacom Cup
1.Joseph Kang’ethe (Nondescripts RFC)
2.James Kang’ethe (Nondescripts RFC)
3.Curtis Lilako (KCB)
4.Musa Amusala (KCB)
5.Duncan Mwangi (Resolution Impala Saracens)
6.Max Adaka (KCB)
7.Edward Oseko (Lunch Bar Quins)
8.Emmanuel Mavala (Homeboyz RFC)
9.Tony Mutai (Lunch Bar Quins)
10.Oliver Mang’eni (KCB)
11.Wilson Kopondo (Lunch Bar Quins)
12.Davis Chenge (Western Bulls)
13.Mike Okombe (Top Fry Nakuru)
14.Brian Nyikuli (Strathmore Leos)
15.Martin Owila (Top Fry Nakuru)
16.Joshua Chisanga (Homeboyz RFC)
17.Lyle Asiligwa (Lunch Bar Quins)
18.Edwin Achayo (Lunch Bar Quins)
19.Robert Aringo (Resolution Impala Saracens)
20.Eden Agero (Lunch Bar Quins)
21.Kenny Andola (Strathmore Leos)
22.Isaac Adimo (Lunch Bar Quins)
23.Austine Gumo (Homeboyz RFC)
24.Nick Baraza (Lunch Bar Quins)
25.Fabian Olando (KCB)
26.Leonard Mugaisi (Homeboyz RFC)
27.Darwin Mukidza (KCB)
28.Dennis Muhanji (Lunch Bar Quins)
29.Cyprian Kuto (Strathmore Leos)
30.Tony Onyango (Strathmore Leos)
1.Jerome Paarwater – Kenya XVs High Performance Consultant
2.Paul Murunga – Assistant Coach
3.Mitchell Ocholla – Assistant Coach
4.Richard Ochieng – Strength & Conditioning Coach
5.Christopher Makachia – Physiotherapist
6.Wangila Simiyu – Team Manager