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Coach has faith in women’s rugby team ahead of Games

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | September 24th 2015

Kenya Lionesses Sevens Head Coach Mike Shamiah is confident the team will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

The 12-member team, which was named yesterday at the RFUEA Grounds, leave the country today for this weekend’s (September 26-27) Women’s Sevens African qualifiers in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Despite being drawn in a tough Pool B alongside Tunisia, Madagascar, Senegal and Botswana, Shamiah believes the Lionesses have what it takes to progress to the knock-out stages.

“The team has been preparing well and we had a good experience playing in Dublin which served as our build-up to the Olympics qualifiers.

“The girls are in good shape and are well-conditioned to take on the teams in Johannesburg,” said Shamiah.

“It is an interesting pool, but we are motivated by our good preparations. Looking at the first game against Botswana, we expect a running and more contact game. But we have prepared and we hope to have a good tournament.”

With only one team qualifying for the Rio show-piece, Shamiah says they have a clear strategy for their opponents.

“First, we need to top our Pool on day one and see what happens the following day. South Africa beat us in last year’s Cup competition, but on a good day any mighty team can fall to minnows,” said Shamiah.

“We have named a defensive squad and will use speed in attack. My hope is to qualify for the Olympics and help the game grow.

“If we qualify, it will attract more interest and growth as more girls will be exposed to the game.”

Hosts South Africa will battle with Zimbabwe, Uganda, Namibia and Zambia in Pool A.

Meanwhile, the Nationwide league Nairobi conference kicks off in earnest with five fixtures this Saturday.

Catholic Monks, back in the second tier following their relegation from last season’s Kenya Cup, begin their campaign with a match at home to the Dagoretti Bulldogs.

Technical University face Methodist University, while USIU host Multimedia University.

Africa Nazarene University take on MKU Nairobi with Daystar hosting Kenya College of Accountancy.

Kenya Women’s Squad:
Laventer Oguta, Camylyn Oyuwayo, Rachel Mbogo, Janet Owino, Sheila Chajira, Catherine Abilla (captain), Irine Otieno, Celestine Masinde, Philadelphia Oland.

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