NAIROBI, June 28 – A brace of tries from Man of the Match Darwin Mukidza and Sammy Oliech inspired Kenya revive their chances of reclaiming the Africa Cup after demolishing visiting Tunisia 46-15 in the second round at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds on Sunday.
The six tries win saw Tunisia who suffered their second loss relegated to Division 1B despite having a match to spare against Zimbabwe next weekend in Harare.
The Kenyan backs led by Mukizda were solid to see Tunisia fail to touch down even a single try and help Jerome Paarwater charges bounce back from 20-28 defeat in their opener against the Sables fortnight ago.
“The game was tough as we expected it. We soaked in a lot of pressure in the first-half but I’m glad we did not waste any opportunities. We knew Tunisia were physical upfront, they tried to slow the game which saw my players lack discipline in the first 20 minutes.
“Our forwards were outstanding, the line-outs were good but I was only worried on off the ball situation where we were not composed. We will work out on our mistakes and be ready for the next assignments,” delighted, Paarwater said after the win.
His opposite number, Mohamed Sahraoui said, “We had a good first-half, the attacking was brilliant but we struggled when we resumed.”
Paarwater who just made a single change from the squad that went down to Zimbabwe with Mike Okombe replacing Emmanuel Malava, suffered a major blow after Lyle Asiligwa was withdrawn with a fractured hand in the14th minute.
The Injury ruled him out of Simba’s next assignments where they welcome Spain in an international test match July 18 before wrapping up their Africa Cup round robin with an away fixture to World Cup bound Namibia, August 8.
Kenya got off on a slow note that saw them concede four penalties which were converted by Khlifa Eddin who also scored a drop goal to complete Tunisia’s points.
After trailing six points down, Mukidza brought the hosts back in the game when he received Oliech’s pass from the line-out to touch the white wash before converting for the lead.
Moments later, Tunisia reclaimed the lead after converting a penalty kick but Oliech was on target to ensure Kenya take charge when Jacob Ojee fed him to see the Impala back tackle three defenders before sprinting to ground the converted try.
Paarwater introduced Robert Aringo for injured Asiligwa before Eddin scored a penalty to reduce the deficit to two as Kenya led 14-12 at the interval.
Mukidza, extended Simba’s lead on the restart after seeing his penalty go through the sticks before he notched a brace from an individual try, but missed the conversion to see his side begin the last half with a 22-12 lead.
Even before Tunisia settled, Okombe set up Oliech for his second as Mukidza converted before slotting home a penalty for a 32-15 lead.
Paarwater did double substitution, withdrawing Isaiah Nyariki for Curtis Lilako and Fabian Olando off for Dennis Muhanji.
The change did not disappoint with Aringo and Vincent Mose touching down the final tries for the hosts as Haythem Cheli was sin binned.