NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – The national women’s sevens team will be banking on experience gained from the Rio Olympics to lift their first ever Africa Cup that goes down this weekend in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Head coach Kevin Wambua has been boosted by the return of Mwamba RFC winger Snaida Aura and Cynthia Camilla who are the only changes in his squad of 12 that will do duty for the country.
The Lionesses will face neighbors Uganda, Madagascar and Tunisia in Pool B and Wambua said he is targeting to top their group to avoid meeting defending champions and favourites South Africa.
“Definitely South Africa has been a tough side to us. Last year we were runners-up and the good thing is that we have had a lot of game play and experience, playing in France, Rome and recently in the Olympics against some of the biggest nations in the world and that has been a plus to us,” Wambua, who took the place of Mike Shamiah as head coach, said.
“We gained a lot seeing how big teams are playing so heading into the tournament, we will want to go one better and before we think about South Africa, our goal is to top our pool so that we don’t meet South Africa in the semis and coming to the knockout phase, I’m sure the girls will be motivated and if we get a chance to face South Africa in the finals, we will put our best feet forward,” Wambua assured.
Most of the team that played at the World Sevens Women’s Series debut in France, Rome and Rio Olympics was retained apart from Aura and Camilla who were described by Wambua as experienced and will add value to the team
“Aura and Camilla both have big game experience. It was unfortunate that they missed out on the Rio Olympics but having played in Hong Kong and the Women’s Sevens World Series in France, they certainly have plenty to offer. It is their chance to show us what they can do.”
Pool B is headlined by South Africa alongside, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Senegal.
Kenya Lionesses Squad to Africa Cup 7s
1.Philadelphia Olando 2.Stacy Otieno (KCB) 3.Janet Owino 4.Rachel Mbogo 5.Sheila Chajira 6.Irene Otieno (Homeboyz)7.Catherine Abilla 8.Celestine Masinde 9.Doreen Remour (Mwamba) 10.Cynthia Camila (Homeboyz)11.Janet Okello(KCB) 12.Michelle Omondi(Mwamba)
Kevin Wambua (coach), Ben Mahinda (assistant coach), Laventer Oguta (Team Manager)