Kenya Simbas ready to attack after Sh53m deal

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Thursday, June 21st 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby

Kenya’s national rugby team Kenya Simbas is a side that was staring at starvation.

They had gone on a futile hunting expedition for a while.

They were broke and at some point, Kenya Rugby Union had threatened to pull them out of international tournaments, including Saturday’s opening Rugby Africa Gold Cup fixture away to Morocco in Casablanca.

Things were thick for the Simbas. They were in dire need of staying healthy and focused, but their state of affairs could not let them. They were suddenly exposed and starvation was imminent. 

But before they surrendered to fate, there’s hope, at least for the next two years.

Kenya Breweries Limited, through their flagship brand Tusker Lager, yesterday announced a Sh53m two-year sponsorship deal for the national team as head coach Ian Snook named his squad for the Moroccan trip.

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The deal which will end next year, will see the national team wear Tusker Lager-branded jersey.

“We at Tusker Lager are always delighted in supporting the sport of rugby and this kit launch, goes to reaffirm our commitment towards supporting the growth of not only rugby but also sports in Kenya,” said Tusker Marketing Manager Christine Mwaura during the sponsorship unveiling ceremony yesterday at RFUEA Grounds.

“We believe this partnership, which enables our gallant sportsmen don the iconic Tusker kit, will go a long way in encouraging the team to play well and qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”

Kenya Rugby Union director of rugby Thomas Odundo said: “The Kenya Breweries Limited have been one of our longest serving partners and I want to thank them for once again supporting us ahead of this crucial World cup qualifier campaign.”

The New Zealander coach made four changes to the team that beat Uganda 34-16 in last month’s Elgon Cup. The North Africa’s continental clash will also double up as the 2019 World Cup qualifier.

The uncapped quintet of Kenya U20 international Edmund Anya, Kabras Sugar’s Colman Were and Homeboyz trio of Mohammed Omollo, Zedden Marrow and Max Kang’eri have all been included in the 23-man squad that departs for Casablanca today morning.

Were and Anya have been handed their Africa Gold Cup debuts, while Omollo, Marrow and Kang’eri will all start from the bench.

Were has replaced Kenya Commercial Bank’s Peter Karia who has been relegated to the bench while Philip Ikambili will start at the openside flank.

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