Kenya: Odera Names Injera, Ambaka in Simbas Squad to Fuel World Cup Dream

Nairobi — Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Odera has named Shujaa stars Collins Injera, Willy Ambaka and Billy ‘The Kid’ Odhiambo in his provisional squad of 81 players to start training ahead of the Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

The squad also sees the return of former captain Davis Chenge and Geoffrey Okwatch who have been out injured and Odera hopes that from the 81, he can select a strong final 35 to battle for a first ever place for Kenya at the World Cup.

Of the 81, 66 are local based and will start training on Thursday while the remaining 15 are foreign based.

The locally based players have been divided into three conferences; Nairobi, Western and Rift Valley, for the weekly training programs.

The Nairobi based players will train under Michael Owino at the RFUEA Grounds, the Western Based players will have their sessions with Richard Ochieng while Odera is in talks with the Menengai Oilers technical team led by former Kenya Sevens skipper Gibson Weru 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,” Odera said speaking to the Kenya Rugby Union website.

Meanwhile, KRU Director of Rugby Thomas Odundo has disclosed they are planning to have friendly matches between May and June to help the team prepare better.

“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 will play neighbors Uganda 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 semi-final 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).