•The Simbas matches were scheduled to commence on May 30 with the side set to host Morocco in Mombasa.
•Rugby Africa was, however, forced to put the matches on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the whole World.
Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera said lack of competitive matches this year will hamper their chances of qualification to the Rugby 2023 World Cup in France.
The former international said with the Africa Cup matches being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, it leaves the country with one year to prepare for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
"In essence, we only have one year which is not enough for the intensity and physicality needed to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers,” he added.
Odera alluded that players from Kenya Under-20 side were to be groomed to take over certain positions but that is now highly unlikely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The plan this year was to groom certain players from the Chipu to see how they can fill in certain gaps in the national team but that looks highly unlikely due to the pandemic," added Odera.
Odera observed that the Africa Cup was the best platform to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers in two years time.
"It gives you a chance to see where our competitors are in terms of tactics, fitness and organisation. However, as things stand, I don't see that happening,” noted Odera.
The Simbas matches were scheduled to commence on May 30 against Morocco in Mombasa with their second pool match pitting them against Côte d’Ivoire on June 27 in Abidjan.
They were then to warm-up for the semis with Victoria Cup matches pitting Uganda in Kakamega on July 11 and Zimbabwe on July 18 in Nakuru.
Rugby Africa was, however, forced to put the matches on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the whole World. Though the rugby body confirmed that they are working on a return to play strategy, the dates remain uncertain as cases in Africa are still going up.
Odera said he was looking forward to seeing the Simbas test themselves against powerhouses Namibia, who have represented the continent in the Rugby World Cup for the past two decades.
“If the pandemic doesn't pass, then it will mean we have not played the best team on the continent for two years and it does not help us," added Odera.