• The team has 10 players under 23 as well as eight players over 30.
• The Simbas played in the Currie Cup; winning three and losing six matches to finish eighth in the competition.
'We are ready! These were the words of Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera after naming his final 28-man squad for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers slated for France next week.
The former Kenya Under 20 and Strathmore Leos coach said these are the biggest three games of the year for his charges after a rigorous preparation phase playing in the Currie Cup in South Africa.
“The boys are ready. It's been a year-long journey but now the boys are relishing the challenge to go and do Kenya proud by qualifying for the Rugby World Cup," said Odera.
"We are confident that we have struck the right balance between experience and youth. We’ve also struck the right balance between skills, personalities and how the team gels.”
The team has 10 players under 23 as well as eight players over 30.
Odera said: “The reason I point this out is because it's important to get a balance between youth and experience. The average age of the team is 26. We have five players who represented Kenya at the Junior World Trophy in Brazil in 2019, we have 10 players who have come through the U20s from 2015 and it is also a matter of honour that we have two Olympians in the team; Collins Injera and Jacob Ojee,” revealed Odera.
The Simbas will face Uganda in their quarterfinal fixture on July 2 and Odera is not writing off the Ugandans, saying: “Our preparations for Uganda are like our preparations for the best team. Uganda is a very dangerous team, particularly against Kenya. They would rather lose to anyone but when it comes to Kenya, they raise their game. The approach is that we are playing a knockout match against an opponent who is equally good. The mantra in camp is this is the final... and that is how we are approaching the game next week.”
The Simbas played in the Currie Cup; winning three and losing six matches to finish eighth in the competition.
Despite the squad facing a Sh10million deficit to take the entire technical bench to the qualifiers, the coach brushed it off as a non-issue.
"We have always worked with what we have and we will go with what we have for the qualifiers," he concluded.
Forwards: Andrew Simiyu (University of Johannesburg, South Africa), Edward Mwaura (Menengai Oilers), Eugene Sifuna (Kabras Sugar), Teddy Akala (Kabras Sugar), Brian Waraba (Kenya Harlequin), Patrick Ouko (KCB), Ephraim Oduor (Kabras Sugar), Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), Davis Chenge (KCB), Brian Juma (Kabras Sugar), Thomas Okeyo (University of Johannesburg, South Africa), Malcolm Onsando (CS Dinamo Bucuresti, Romania), George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), Bethwel Anami (Strathmore Leos), Daniel Sikuta (Kabras Sugar), Martin Owilah (KCB)
Backs: Samuel Asati (KCB), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar), Jone Kubu (Kabras Sugar), Andrew Matoka (Strathmore Leos), John Okoth (Menengai Oilers), Collins Injera (Mwamba), Vincent Onyala (KCB), Bryceson Adaka (Kabras Sugar), Jacob Ojee (KCB), Derrick Ashiundu (Kabras Sugar), Dominic Coulson (University of Exeter, England), Darwin Mukidza (KCB)