NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Having featured for three Rugby World Cups, former Ireland star Alan Quinlan wishes Kenya’s dreams of playing in the 2019 global competition comes true, though he has challenged the players to put extra sacrifice if they want to succeed.
Quinlan, who represented Ireland between 1998 -2001, has urged the Kenya Simbas to begin early preparations, advising the players to watch their diet, train hard and take time to analyze other team’s performance as well as committing themselves to the game.
The 43-year-old is in Kenya courtesy of the invite from The Rugby Patrons Society with the aim of supporting Age-grade Rugby.
“I think Kenya has the quality to qualify for the World Cup, all they need is a developing game plan, belief, confidence and sometimes you need a little bit of luck. World Rugby also needs to support small nations like Kenya and there is no reason why Kenya can’t qualify for World Cup,” Quinlan told Capital Sport in an exclusive interview.
“It will be fantastic if Kenya qualified for the World Cup because that is what the world rugby needs, to see small nations compete in bigger competitions. It will be a dream come true for Kenya though they have tricky qualifiers but I would love to see Kenya play in the World Cup,” he added.
Kenya came close to qualifying for a first ever World Cup in 2014 when they just needed a single point to grab the slot, but their dream was shattered by Zimbabwe who won the game 27-10.
This season, Kenya Simbas who are yet to appoint a head coach after the sacking of South African Jerome Paarwater, will open their 2019 Japan World Cup Qualifier against newly promoted Morocco on June 23 before locking horns with Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tunisia and Namibia.
Quinlan offered some advice to the Kenyan team underlining that the most crucial thing for the Simbas to do is to have ample preparations.
“If I was involved in the Kenyan team to qualify, I would do a lot of analysis on the teams we will face, watch the best teams in the world and see what they do better and translate it to my team,” he noted.
“Individual players need to sacrifice. Between now and the qualifiers the players if they really have that desirer and commitment to play in the World Cup, they should make that sacrifice by training hard, watching diet, watching alcohol intake and trying to make themselves better every time they go to the field, and that’s is the standard of a top player of the world,” Quinlan, who tipped his home nation Ireland to succeed in 2019 World Cup, offered.
Irish rugby legend Quinlan tips Kenya to qualify for 2019 World Cup
Imechapishwa na Capital FM Kenya kwenye Ijumaa, 12 Januari 2018
However, Quinlan who captained the Irish Youth Team against Scotland in 1993, challenged the Kenya Rugby Union to concentrate on developing young players from a tender age as well as young coaches.
He noted that by doing this Kenya will be competing with biggest rugby nations in the longer version of 15s game and also attract the eyes of World Rugby that comes with funding since a lot of finance is needed to accomplish this.
“If Kenya is to succeed they have to work with kids and the young coaches because if the coaches guide the kids in the right way they will learn new skills and understand the game better. Kenya needs to have programmes, train young coaches, though it will need a lot of finance,” Quinlan, who regularly commentates with Sky Sports asserted.
He added, “It’s tricky for Kenya to be at par with other world class rugby nations as far as 15s is concerned because they don’t have the youth structures. I watch the rugby sevens and I see the Kenyan team are outstanding.”
“They have grabbed the attention of the world because of how competitive they are; the way they run freely with the ball…so that has been positive for Kenya but 15s rugby is a challenge for them but they can become better because Ireland was not known for beating teams but look today we beat New Zealand and our rivals England,” Quinlan, who is a big golf fan and supports Liverpool Football Club, said.