BAPTISM OF FIRE

Lionesses face tough opener against New Zealand in Tokyo

Pool 'B' features Canada, France, Fiji and Brazil while Olympic champions Australia have a date with the USA, China and Japan in Pool 'C'.

In Summary

•Skipper Philadelphia Olando, one of three survivors from Rio — alongside Sheila Chajira and Janet Okello, said the girls are in high spirits ahead of the competition.

• The Lionesses will then face Great Britain at 1 pm before closing their preliminary fixtures against Russia at 5 am on Friday.

Lionesses' Janet Okello in a past match
Lionesses' Janet Okello in a past match
Image: FILE

Kenya Lionesses face a baptism of fire when they open their campaign against 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalistsNew Zealand in a Pool 'A' opener at 5:30am.

Felix Oloo's charges have had a disrupted training schedule after a good number of their players were put in isolation on arrival in Kurume after sharing a flight with a passenger who tested positive for Covid-19.

The team had their first training session earlier in the week and Oloo believes the girls will be competitive against the Kiwis.

"It's been a tough build-up having not trained entirely as a team but the girls are ready and relishing the challenge of doing the country proud,” said Oloo.

The Lionesses lost to New Zealand 52-0 five years ago in Rio and Oloo expects his charges to have closed the gap to the powerful Kiwi outfit.

"The girls are now much better now and we will give it our best shot in the three days of competition,” added Oloo.

The Lionesses will then face Great Britain at 1 pm before closing their preliminary fixtures against Russia at 5 am on Friday.

Skipper Philadelphia Olando, one of three survivors from Rio — alongside Sheila Chajira and Janet Okello, said the girls are in high spirits ahead of the competition.

"We are excited to play against some of the best teams in the world and test ourselves accordingly,” said Olando.

Pool 'B' features Canada, France, Fiji and Brazil while Olympic champions Australia have a date with the USA, China and Japan in Pool 'C'.

The top two teams in each pool, alongside the best third-placed teams, will advance to the quarters.