Baptism of fire for new rugby debutants

by Juma Pondamali

Kenya Simbas squad facing Zambia this weekend will see five debutants earn their first cap.

Three of those making their debut are penned in the starting lineup while the fourth one starts off the bench on Saturday. Francis Mwita, Brian Amaitsa, Samuel Asati, Eliud Mulakoli and Ian Njenga are looking forward to their first cap for the National senior fifteens team.

This will be the first time Kenya hosts a Victoria Cup match after a seven-year hiatus of the tournament. The last fixture played in Nairobi was on 23rd July in 2011 at the Nyayo Stadium where Kenya lost 21-26 to the eventual Victoria Cup champions Zimbabwe.

Head Coach Paul Odera has recalled the services of Geofrey Okwach, Emmanuel Silungi and John Okoth all who featured for The Simbas on June 22nd during the first Elgon Cup match in Kisumu.

Curtis Lilako is the appointed match day Captain and will be assisted by Elkeans Musonye and Jacob Ojee all of whom are in the starting lineup.

“We are not changing our attack and defense systems because that would then confuse the players. We are working on refining them as we progress with the fixtures. Talent is not a problem in the country, what we need to rethink is the culture around the National Teams.” Paul Odera.

“I believe we are all ready for this weekend. There’s a good blend between the young players and a number of the experienced players. The mood of the team can only be displayed on the pitch this Saturday so we’re urging our fans to show up on the day and support us.” Captain, Curtis Lilako.

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