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Kenya face Zimbabwe in Confederation of Africa Rugby 15s finals

RUGBY By - BS MULAVI | July 14th 2013

By BS MULAVI

 “We conquered the mountain. Now let’s conquer the continent.” These are the sentiments of Kenya 15s team manager Wangila Simiyu as the team take on Zimbabwe in Antananarivo on Sunday in the final of the Confederation of Africa Rugby (CAR) Cup.

In a much anticipated final of the Africa’s top-tier competition, Kenya is oozing with confidence especially after a morale-boosting 52-11 drubbing of Uganda in the semi-final. It is this performance that Simiyu refered to as ‘conquering of the mountain’, especially after Uganda had beaten Kenya in the Elgon Cup.

“We have conquered Mt Elgon and we have set our sights at conquering the continent, becauset if we beat Zimbabwe, we will be crowned kings of Africa,” said  Wangila. “I don’t see what Zimbabwe have that we don’t.”

“We match them when it comes to tactical play. We match them in strength and conditioning and hence there is no reason why we should not be crowned the top team in Africa,” he added.

According to Simiyu, the battle will be about which team is more prepared mentally.

“The conditions here are quite adverse. It is winter here in Madagascar hence it’s quite cold and that is compounded by the fact that we are being served unfamiliar food.

“We are eating sea food,  which is something the boys are not accustomed to, but we are trying to ensure that we are not getting side tracked with side shows and we have our focus squarely at the task at hand, to beat Zimbambwe,” he added.

The Kenya national sevens team affirmed their position as the top team in Africa at the expense of South Africa and Zimbabwe in the just-concluded Sevens Rugby World Cup. But the Kenya 15s team will have to work extra hard in the 15s version to maintain the standard set by their colleagues.

South Africa have already qualified for the World Cup in England in 2015 by virtue of their rankings in the International Rugby Board and hence the fight for dominance in Africa has been left between Kenya and Zimbabwe, which will be decided in today’s match.

“We put in our bid to host next year’s CAR tournament and we know if we win this year’s edition our chances of securing the hosting of the tournament will be greatly enhanced,” said Wangila.

 “If we host next year’s tournament, our chances of making it to the World Cup also go up considerably, so we have everything to play for in this tournament.”

Simiyu hinted that they will maintain the same team that played against Uganda.

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