NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – Kenya 15s skipper Davis Chenge is confident the team can put up a good show and challenge for a spot in next year’s World Cup in Japan through the repechage tournament scheduled for November in France.
The Simbas dropped to the repechage after losing the African qualifier to Namibia, going down 53-28 to the Southern Africans in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup decider last Saturday.
“I believe with good preparations we will be able to compete for a place. It is a tough tournament yes, but the boys are really psyched to go for it. We will work on our mistakes and by the time we get to the repechage, we will be better,” the skipper said.
“It was a tough loss against Namibia but credit to the guys they gave their all but Namibia were just better than us. They capitalized on our mistakes and won the match.” Added Chenge.
His sentiments were shared by head coach Ian Snook who lost his first match since taking charge of the SImbas at the beginning of the season.
“The boys gave 100pc in the game and the commitment was fantastic. We lost our shape a bit in decision making and played much into their hands, but we gave absolutely everything on the pitch,” the tactician noted.
Nonetheless, the tactician has said the team was hugely let down by lack of a good pre-season as they never had any high-profile test matches to prepare for the Gold Cup.
The team had planned to have a week-long high-performance training camp in South Africa, but the same fell off in the last minute due to a cash crunch at the Union.
“You need to be playing at high level to produce good results. To be better we need to have more games because I look at these boys everyday and I am sure they have what it takes to play at the high level, we are only let down by the lack of preparedness,” the coach further added.
In the repechage, Shujaa will face Germany and Hong Kong, two sides which they have faced before. Germany came into Kenya last year and played two test matches, drawing one and winning the other. Simbas also played Hong Kong last year in an invitational tournament and lost.
However, they had beaten the Asians when they played in Kenya.
The winner of the four-nation tournament that also includes Canada will head into next year’s World Cup.