Kenya national fifteen’s rugby national team head coach Paul Odera is not happy with the rugby Africa cup which doubles up as the Rugby World Cup African qualifiers.
According to Odera the qualifiers which are set for July 1st to July 12th 2022 in France could have been staged in Africa despite the continent’s shortcomings in terms of infrastructure and development of the game.
“We don’t have the facilities, and we don’t have the perfect infrastructure, but there is a lot more pride that we take as Africans, yes there are pros and cons to the tournament being held in France, but the costs are huge for the country like Kenya,” Odera said.
Nevertheless, Odera believes his boys are on the right track and can qualify for the World cup which will be the first one in the country’s history.
According to Odera, the national team has impressively registered positive results and the tactician he is confident they can qualify for the global bonanza.
Odera added that his team is fully ready to take part in the African 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers that will take place in France from 1-10 July.
“The team is ready and fit for the qualifiers. Our physical conditioning and mental strength have greatly improved. You can see they are comfortable with each other even when someone makes a mistake, they encourage rather than reprimand,” Odera said.
Odera further said how his charges have improved skills-wise while also noting how his forwards have upgraded in the scrummage and believe it put them in a better position to qualify for the World cup.
“Our skill set has vastly improved as well. These boys could not scrummage well before but our scrummages against Leopards and Elephants were big. We held our own, and it puts us in a good place for the World Cup qualifier. Senegal caused us some problems in the Rugby Africa 2021 in that area, but we can now get the job done,” he added.
Only the winner is guaranteed a direct ticket in Pool A alongside three-time winners New Zealand, hosts France, Italy and the Americas 1 qualifier. The qualifiers will take place in France from 1-10 July.
On the same breath the national team before their departure to France received a boost of Ksh 10 million in sponsorship from Teita Sisal Estate through its longe,The Hildana Lodge ahead of the Rugby Africa Cup.
Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Oduor Gangla said, “The Kenya Rugby Union appreciates this timely partnership that will certainly be a boost to the Simbas who have been in intense preparations over the past two years for this assignment and these funds will be used to ensure the team prepares and performs well in France,” Gangla said.
The Simbas departed on Wednesday 29 June and will begin their campaign with a quarterfinal fixture against Uganda at 4.00pm EAT on Saturday 2 July.
The semifinals are set for 6 July with the final slated for 10 July.
The winner of this tournament earns direct qualification to the 2023.
Fijian born Jona Kubu and veteran Collins Injera headline the Odera coached side with the team set to fight for its first ever ticket to the global show-piece.