What you need to know:
- Kenya stayed in the race for the 2021 World Cup after finishing the African qualifying competition in second place behind South Africa in 2019, while Colombia hit Brazil 23-19 in the South America qualifier in March 2020.
- Zimbabwe’s Precious Pazani will take charge of the match. She will be assisted by fellow Zimbabwean Talent Gandiwa and Uganda’s Sauda Adiru.
Kenya Lionesses will be going all out when they face a tricky Colombia in a South America/Africa playoff match at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon.
At stake is a place in the repechage which is the Rugby World Cup 2021 final qualification tournament.
The winner of the clash will get support from World Rugby to the tune of about Sh11 million to duel the second-placed teams from Asia, Europe and Oceania regional tournaments in the repechage in Europe at a venue and date to be announced later.
Ahead of Wednesday’s do-or-die fixture, both Kenya and Colombia camps have high expectations.
The Lionesses exuded optimism, especially after coming close to stun 13th-ranked South Africa in their last warm-up match, losing 29-22 in Stellenbosch on August 16.
“Getting beaten (by South Africa) was probably a blessing in disguise because it creates more hunger amongst the players leading up to the Colombia game which is the one that we have to win,” Kenya head coach Felix Oloo told World Rugby.
The Colombians, who are ranked 30th in the world, are physically bigger than 25th-placed Kenya. Hosts Kenya will bank on the athleticism of the Sevens stars.
“They have very big forwards, so we are working hard to see how we can neutralize them in this area and use that to our advantage. We know their strengths and they know our strengths as well and both of us are working hard to see who can outsmart the other. We are going all out to play our very best until the final whistle,” noted Oloo.
He admitted that the Lionesses lost their heads in the last 10 minutes in their last warm-up match.
“Had we taken our chances, we believe we would have won the game. Sadly, our finishing wasn’t on point and we also had issues with our kicking patterns.”
Coach Raul Vesga’s Colombia has been in Nairobi since last Friday.
“We have trained for several days and adapted very well…jet lag has not hit us as hard as we expected. Everything is very positive for us and we want to give the best performance against Kenya,” said Alzate Moncada, one of the key players on the Colombia side.
Kenya stayed in the race for the 2021 World Cup after finishing the African qualifying competition in second place behind South Africa in 2019, while Colombia hit Brazil 23-19 in the South America qualifier in March 2020.
Zimbabwe’s Precious Pazani will take charge of the match. She will be assisted by fellow Zimbabwean Talent Gandiwa and Uganda’s Sauda Adiru.
Kenya – Nyambura (Captain), Otieno, Kalimera, Olesia, Muyuka, Akinyi, Ouma, Wambui, Okumu, Grace Okulu, Christabel Lindo, Philadelphia Olando, Janet Okello, Nyachio; Otuoma, Migongo, Atieno, Amuguni, Akoth, Marindany, Ndunde, Muritu.
Colombia – Suarez, Cardona, Betancur, Mestra, Vallejo, Arango, Alvarez, Acevedo (Captain), Ramirez, Lopera, Arzuaga, Alzate Moncada, Soto, Garcia, Tapias; Barajas, Morales, Lozano, Vargas, Munoz, Quintero, Mejia, Romero.