What you need to know:
- Bethwel Anami (Strathmore Leos) and George Omolla (Mwamba) have been drafted into the Simbas squad and will be hoping to impress in training.
- Odera also plans to add eight foreign-based players to the list for the quadrangular tournament featuring Namibia, Brazil and Zimbabwe in Stellenbosch.
Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera has named two uncapped players in his 40-man squad for international test matches slated for November in South Africa.
Bethwel Anami (Strathmore Leos) and George Omolla (Mwamba) have been drafted into the Simbas squad and will be hoping to impress in training.
Odera also plans to add eight foreign-based players to the list for the quadrangular tournament featuring Namibia, Brazil and Zimbabwe in Stellenbosch.
The foreign-based players are brothers Jeff Mutuku and Mark Mutuku (USA), Andrew Simiyu (South Africa), Malcolm Onsando (Romania) and UK-based Toby Francombe, Owain Ashley and siblings Cameron Coulson and Dominic Coulson.
Odera says the squad’s composition was based on footage and data from players who played in the 45-8 win against Zambia at the 2021 Africa Cup which doubled as the second round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Africa qualification.
“It was also based on the wider training squad, the overseas based players and a few others who may have stood out in the Kenya Cup season and may have missed out on selection earlier in the year,” he said.
With the Simbas set to tackle the best of the Currie Cup’s talent in the Carling Champions match on November 6 before competing in the Stellenbosch Quadrangular tournament from November 14, Odera noted: “These tests will be crucial in helping us prepare for the World Cup qualifiers next year. Playing matches against quality opposition is valuable in High Performance environments.”
The Stellenbosch Quadrangular will be played on a knockout basis with direct semifinals on November 14 with the playoff and final on November 20.
Odera’s charges will also play an international friendly in Bloemfontein on November 25 against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Kenya Rugby Union president Oduor Gangla welcomed the additional fixtures in Stellenbosch.
“We appreciate the efforts made by World Rugby in ensuring that the Simbas get to play high profile test fixtures. The experience and exposure from these test matches is a vital step in our preparations for next year’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers.”
Kenya will renew rivalry with neighbours Uganda in the quarter-final stage of the 2022 Africa Cup, the third round of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers.
If the Simbas maul Uganda, then they will meet in semi-final the winner of the quarter-final match pitting Senegal against Algeria. The other quarter-final matches involve Namibia against Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe versus Ivory Coast. The 2022 Africa Cup champion will qualify automatically for 2023 World Cup in France, with second-ranked side going for the repechage.
Simbas training squad:
Forwards - Ian Njenga (Nondescripts), Nesta Okotch (Impala Saracens), Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), Eugene Sifuna (Kabras Sugar), Griffin Musila (KCB), Boniface Ochieng (Kenya Harlequin), Ephraim Oduor (Kabras Sugar), Patrick Ouko (KCB), Melvin Thairu (Kenya Harlequin), George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), Thomas Okeyo (Nakuru), Emmanuel Silungi (Homeboyz), Brian Juma (Kabras Sugar), Joshua Chisanga (Kenya Harlequin), Bethwel Anami (Strathmore Leos), George Omolla (Mwamba), Dan Sikuta (Kabras Sugar), Brian Amaitsa (Nondescripts), Fidel Oloo (Nondescripts), Steve Sakari (Kabras Sugar), Elkeans Musonye (Impala Saracens), Tony Owuor (Mwamba);
Backs - Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), Barry Robinson (Kabras Sugar), Brian Wahinya (Blak Blad), Jone Kubu (Kabras Sugar), Charles Kuka (Mwamba), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar), Timothy Okwemba (Menengai Oilers), Derrick Ashiundu (Kabras Sugar), John Okoth (Nakuru), Vincent Onyala (KCB), Samuel Asati (KCB), Peter Kilonzo (KCB), Darwin Mukidza (KCB), Michael Kimwele (KCB), Jacob Ojee (KCB), Isaac Njoroge (KCB), Anthony Odhiambo (Impala Saracens), Andrew Matoka (Strathmore Leos).
Simbas November itinerary:
6th November 2021 - Carling Champions Match, Pretoria – vs Currie Cup Select
14th November 2021 – Stellenbosch Quadrangular, Stellenbosch – v Namibia (Direct Semi-final)
20th November 2021 – Stellenbosch Quadrangular, Stellenbosch – v TBC
25th November 2021 - International Friendly, Bloemfontein –TBC