NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10- Ahead of earning his maiden competitive cap for the national 15s side on Saturday, Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka has vowed to do justice to the shirt and translate the same form he has had in the shorter version of the game.
Ambaka’s last involvement with the Simbas was in 2014 where he only managed to play a friendly match against Western Province. He has trained with the Simbas for the past one month and head coach Ian Snook saw him fit enough to start at wing on Saturday against Tunisia.
“Anytime you are called up to the national team you are always pleased because it is a great opportunity. I feel pleased to be starting but I must thank the boys because they have really helped me to settle in and I am looking forward to making my debut,” the Kenya Harlequins player added.
Snook said he was impressed with Ambaka in training especially his desire to do well and is confident his decision to throw him into his starting 15 will be vindicated against Tunisia.
Ambaka’s biggest target as he sets his feet into the Simbas will be to help the side qualify for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
“We are taking it a game at a time but definitely my biggest ambition is to play a role in helping the team qualify for the World Cup. We have a good group of players, very talented and I know if we put in the hard work, we will make it,” he added.
The winger also notes it will not be tough for him to adapt to the longer version of the game.
“I don’t think it matters where you are playing 15s or 7s. Rugby is almost the same across the board. You just have to be fit and give your all,” he noted.
Kenya will be looking for a fourth consecutive Gold Cup victory, one that will all but certainly put them closer to earning the lone ticket to the World Cup heading into the final game against Namibia in Windhoek.
Captain Davis Chenge has called on the charges to ensure they give their all and not take Tunisia lightly despite beating them for 100 the last time they played.
“We are well prepared physically and mentally. We know what we are facing a tough team tomorrow and we will not take them lightly. They have had big losses against Namibia and Uganda and they will be coming in here like wounded lions to fight for their lives,” Chenge said.
He added; “We will need to get maximum points from this game to ensure that by the time we play with Namibia next weekend, we have a chance of qualification to the World Cup.”
The same sentiments have been shared by head coach Ian Snook who has urged the players not to be complacent, pointing out Tunisia pose a bigger danger.
“We watched their game against Zimbabwe and obviously they have some talent there. We need to be in our element and watch out we don’t give them a sniff of the ball which will give them some confidence. We need to work well on and off the ball. We have worked on our defense a bit which was a weakness in the other three games,” the tactician said.