The Kenya Simbas kick off their preparations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday, February 17 with morning sessions at the RFUEA Grounds.
With the Kenya Cup league still in progress, these sessions will mainly focus on the conditioning aspect of the game.
The Simbas Technical Team has settled on a starting list of 81 players; 66 of whom are locally based while 15 are overseas.
“Some players from the 2021 team have lost form and have been excluded from this year’s selection, there are players who are playing very well in the Kenya Cup and have put up their name for selection, and then we have players based overseas,” said Head Coach Paul Odera
“We’re glad to welcome back Geoffrey Okwach and Davis Chenge from a foot injury and a concussion respectively. Unfortunately, Griffin Musila is still in rehab after undergoing a knee surgery late last year but we are keeping tabs on him as we work on his Return to Play Protocol,” he added.
The 66 players have been divided into three teams based on their locations, the Nairobi based players will train with Michael Owino, the Western Based players will have their sessions with Richard Ochieng while Odera is in talks with Menengai Oilers technical team to see how they will assist with the Rift Valley based players.
“Once the Kenya Cup league is over, we shall review the players and then reduce them to 40 players before settling down with a 35-man squad that will go for the RWC Qualifiers. This is a very important year for the Simbas and the Kenya Rugby Union as we look to make the world cup for the first time in July.”
The Director of Rugby, Thomas Odundo, stated that the KRU is looking at having friendlies in May-June but nothing other than the Qualifiers has been confirmed just yet.
“Ideally, we’d like to let the Kenya Cup league finish, have players recover from the season as we get our overseas back in. We will then have about four to six weeks of intense training sessions and then play matches of a higher quality than we are going to experience in July because if we don’t play these higher quality teams, we will not be able to have the players mentally prepared and also for us as a tech team to identify which of our players are capable of playing at a much higher level,” said Odera.
The Simbas are scheduled to meet age old rivals Uganda cranes in the quarterfinal of the RWCQ on either 1st or 2nd July 2022. Should they secure a victory in this match, they will proceed to face either Senegal or Algeria in the semifinal on 6th July.
The final of the qualifiers will take place on 10th July
The 2022 Kenya Simbas Provisional Squad:
Loosehead Props: Ian Njenga(Nondies), Joseph Odero(Kabras Sugar RFC), Andrew Siminyu(University of Jo’burg), Edward Mwaura(Menengai Oilers),
Hookers: Griffin Musila-Injured(KCB), Bonface Ochieng(Kenya Harlequins), Wilfred Waswa(KCB), Eugene Sifuna(Kabras Sugar RFC), Teddy Akala(Kabras Sugar RFC), Stanley Isogol(Menengai Oilers), Coleman Were(Menengai Oilers), Toby Francombe(Scotland).
Tighthead Props: Patrick Ouko(KCB), Manasseh Oduor(KCB), Paul Opiyo(Mwamba RFC), Ephraim Oduor(Kabras Sugar RFC), Miles Rotuk Rahedi(Kutztown University-USA).
Locks: Oliver Mang’eni(KCB), Frank Aduda-injured(Impala Saracens), Brian Juma(Kabras Sugar RFC),Shem Joseph(Kabras Sugar RFC), Wallace Otieno(Menengai Oilers), Thomas Okeyo(Top Fry Nakuru), Emmanuel Silungi(Tel Aviv, Israel), Malcolm Onsando(Dinamo Bucharesti-Romania).
Blindside Flankers: Davis Chenge(KCB), Bethwel Anami(Strathmore), George Nyambua(Kabras Sugar RFC), Samuel Onsongo-injured(Menengai Oilers), Chrispin Shitundo(Menengai Oilers).
Openside Flankers: Martin Owila(KCB), Fidel Oloo(Nondies), Brian Amaitsa(Nondies), Daniel Sikuta(Kabras Sugar RFC), John Akuei Monate(Tigers RFC – USA), Cameron Coulson(Richmond RFC- England), Brayden Barrat(Durham University London – England), Oscar Ouma(Zastava RFC- Russia).
Number 8s: Elkeans Musonye(Impala Saracens), Alex Aturo(Mwamba RFC), Felix Ojow(KCB), Steven Sakari(Kabras Sugar RFC), Mark Mutuku(Notre Dame Athletic – USA).
Scrum halves: Samuel Asati(KCB), Brian Wahinya(KCB), Mickey Wanjala(KCB), Barry Robinson(Kabras Sugar RFC), Brian Tanga(Kabras Sugar RFC), Samson Onsomu(Menengai Oilers).
Fly halves: Anthony Omondi(Mwamba RFC), Charles Kuka(Mwamba RFC), Jone Kubu(Kabras Sugar RFC), Owain Ashley Lloyd(Cardiff University RFC-Wales), Dominic Coulson(Exeter University RFC-England).
Inside Centers: Max Kangeri(KCB), Collins Injera(Mwamba RFC), John Okoth(Menengai Oilers), Brad Owako(Dubai Exiles RFC – Dubai), Patrick Kluivert(Strathmore),Max Omondi(Catholic Monks), Charles Tendwa(South Coast Pirates)
Outside Centers: Vincent Onyala(KCB), Peter Kilonzo(KCB), Bryceson Adaka(Kabras Sugar RFC)
Wingers: Andrew Matoka(Strathmore), Archadius Khwesa(Blak Blad RFC), Jacob Ojee(KCB), Michael Kimwele(KCB), Geoffrey Okwach(KCB), Billy Odhiambo(Mwamba RFC), Beldad Ogeta(Menengai Oilers), William Ambaka(Zastava RFC-Russia).
Full Backs: Darwin Mukidza(KCB), Isaac Njoroge(KCB), Samuel Oliech(Impala Saracens), Jefferey Mutuku(Notre Dame Athletic-USA).