Simbas going for ‘mission possible’ in Windhoek today

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Saturday, August 18th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Simbas' Coach Ian Snook [COURTESY]

Kenya Simbas have a mountain to climb when they take to the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium this evening (5 pm) bidding to break a four-year winless run against Namibia and qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Though both teams are still unbeaten in the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup-cum-2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, Namibia (20) go into today’s continental title decider as favourites after picking up a bonus point in all their last four victories.

In addition, the defending champions, who just need a victory or a draw in the crunch tie to secure their six consecutive World Cup ticket, have never lost to Kenya since the 29-22 defeat in 2014 in Nairobi. In their last trip to Windhoek (2017), Kenyans were thrashed 45-7.

But with only three points separating the two teams and with both of them seeking a win to automatically qualify for the global showpiece, Simbas coach Ian Snook believes his charges can complete mission impossible in Windhoek.

“Our plan throughout has been to qualify directly to Japan and the target remains the same as we travel to Windhoek. But we need to work harder especially on our defence and everything will be okay.

“I have a lot of trust in these boys and I am confident they will deliver positive results,” said Snook after last weekend’s emphatic 67-0 win over Tunisia.

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“We would love to beat Namibia and avoid the repêchage tournament. That means we will have to play really well and get the result. However, we still have a second chance for the losers in the repêchage but there will be a huge drive for the team that wins in Windhoek. Everything is possible, so let’s wait and see.”

Simbas captain Davis Chenge added: “The mood in the camp is encouraging. The boys are in good spirits and ready for the match. Of course, we are expecting a tough match but I believe we have everything we need to win that game.”

Just like Snook, Namibia assistant coach and former national team captain Jacques Burger is braced for a difficult match. He believes that history will count for nothing in the eagerly awaited encounter.

“I think Kenya without a doubt will be our strongest test —there’s a lot to play for,” he said.