NAIROBI, Kenya, September 5 – National Women 7s head coach Kevin Wambua has handed Sheila Kavugwe her international debut as the Lioness squad for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series qualifiers set for September 12 and 13 in Hong Kong was announced on Friday.
Kenya will battle it out with 11 other nations for the four slots available that will see the winners join New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada for the 2014-15 season.
Wambua who retained most of his charges that won the Elgon Cup in July is targeting to top Pool B that features Fiji, Japan and Argentina.
“The team is comprised of players who have been together over the past few years but its unfortunate we were unable to select one of our best Stacey Awuor who is injured but this opens up room for Sheila which I believe will be a good experience for her.
“We have done our homework on Fiji and Japan because they are the strongest teams in our pool. We expect a tough challenge from Fiji given their previous experience in the series but we go to Hong Kong taking a game at a time with sights of reaching the Cup quarters that will leave us with just one step to secure the slot,” said Wambua.
The team that will be captained by Doreen Remour had a good build up towards the qualifiers after participating at the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens in March and competing at the Confederation of African Rugby Sevens Championships in Machakos where they lost in the finals to South Africa.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee urged the ladies to believe in themselves and maintain the good form of the team that was introduced a decade ago.
“You have conquered the biggest opponents already and now the sky is the limit, please carry on bravely honouring those who have stood with you with any sort of support.
“We would like this team to enjoy close to similar facilities the men’s team does from sponsorship but like the men’s team did, we have to achieve a certain level of success before sponsors can join. Meanwhile, let us continue with the unique fighting spirit that never wavers in this team,” the KRU boss declared.
The team that has been training for four months will depart on Monday evening.
Kenya squad to Hong Kong
Doreen Remour (Captain), Camilyne Awuor, Catherine Abilla, Celestine Masinde, Mary Ochieng, Irene Otieno, Janet Owino, Janet Okelo, Mary Ingabo, Philadelphia Olando, Rachel Mbogo, Sheila Kavugwe.
Management: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Mike Shamiah (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Ben Mahinda (Physio), Angela Olum (Team Manager), Paula Lanco (Director, Women’s Rugby).