KCB dominate Simbas squad for Africa Gold Cup
The national rugby 15s side Simbas has named a 35 man squad ahead of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup which will double up as the African qualifying round for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Freshly minted Kenya Cup champions KCB RFC lead the selections, contributing 12 players from the side that went unbeaten all season in the domestic top flight.
The Bankers’ eighth man Peter Waitere and teammate Michael Wanjala have been rewarded for their exceptional displays and headline seven new faces in the Simbas squad.
Coleman Were,Patrick Ouko,Mohamed Omolo, Josepy Odera, Levy Amunga,Johnstone Mung’au and Aggrey Kitoi are also likely to earn their debut if they make the final cut.
Resolution Kisii’s Aggrey Kitoi is the odd inclusion considering the wretched run his side endured last term when they were relegated straight back to the championship.
Kenya Harlequins’ long-serving skipper Wilson K’Opondo will retain the captain’s armband and will be deputised by the Kenya Cup Most Valuable Player (MVP) Darwin Mukidza.
Scrum half Samson Onsomu of Impala Saracens has been slotted in the midfield and will be assisted in the same position by youngsters Michael Wanjala and Mohammed Omollo of Menengai Cream Homeboyz who enjoyed outstanding campaigns.
Experienced Impala Saracens fly-half Nato Simiyu and Biko Adema of Nondescripts will convert the much needed tries as they seek to qualify for the global event for the first time.
New Zealander Ian Snook who was recently appointed head coach of the Kenya fifteens national team by KRU is expected in the country to take over the seat that was left vacant following the dismissal of South African Jerome Paarwater.
Snook brings with him a vast wealth of experience, having served in various high profile coaching and consulting capacities in New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland, Laos, Japan, Croatia, Italy and South Africa.
He will be assisted by his countryman Murray Roulston who has previously served on the coaching staff of Super Rugby side Highlanders and also served in various coaching and consulting capacities in New Zealand, Japan, Trinidad & Tobago and Romania.
The two are currently working with the technical team of Dominique Habimana, Charles Ngovi, Richard Ochieng, Chris Makachia and Simiyu Wangila on their catches against European opposition in the run-up to the Rugby Africa Gold Cup which doubles up as the 2019 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
The Gold Cup winner will get a direct ticket to Japan with second-placed also going to the global bonanza.
Both the winner and runner-up will be pooled in pool B with World champions New Zealand, South Africa and Italy.
The Africa Gold Cup will conclude on August 18 with all six teams in action, Uganda entertains Zimbabwe, Kenya heads to Namibia and Tunisia hosts Morocco.
The winner of the competition will not only be crowned African champion but will also secure direct qualification to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with the second placed team joining teams from Europe, Asia and South America in the Repechage process for the final spot at the Rugby World Cup.
Gold Cup Fixtures:
June 23 2018
Namibia v Tunisia
Morocco v Kenya
June 30 2018
Kenya v Zimbabwe
Morocco v Namibia
July 7 2018
Kenya v Uganda
Tunisia v Zimbabwe
Moses Amusala (KCB RFC), Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), Oscar Simiyu (KCB RFC), Curtis Lilako (KCB RFC ),Dennis Karani (Impala Saracens), Patrick Ouko* (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Philip Ikambili (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Peter Karia (KCB RFC), Coleman Were* (Kabras Sugar), Wilson Kopondo (Kenya Harlequins, Captain),Simon Muniafu (Sporting Club Decazevillois, France), Oliver Mang’eni (KCB RFC), Eric Kerre (Impala Saracens),Elkeans Musonye (Strathmore Leos), Davis Chenge (KCB RFC), George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), Martin Owila (KCB RFC), Steve Otieno (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Peter Waitere* (KCB RFC)
Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), Michael Wanjala* (KCB RFC), Mohamed Omollo* (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Nato Simiyu (Impala Saracens), Levy Amunga (Blak Blad), Biko Adema (Nondescripts RFC), Dennis Muhanji (Kenya Harlequins), Jacob Ojee (KCB RFC), Leo Seje (Impala Saracens), Brad Owako (Mwamba RFC), Peter Kilonzo (KCB RFC), Johnstone Mung’au* (Kabras Sugar), Aggrey Kitoi* (Resolution Kisii), Tony Onyango (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Darwin Mukidza (KCB RFC), Vincent Mose (Impala Saracens).
*Denotes a debutant