Bullish Kenya Lionesses eye world cup berth
The Kenya rugby women’s team, popularly known as lionesses, are expected to tackle Colombia in a must win fixture for the ladies to sail through to the Rugby World Cup.
The Lionesses can book their place at the RWC 2021 final qualification tournament if they go past Colombia in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Kenya’s Lionesses have played four matches since the original RWC 2021 final qualification Tournament play-off against Colombia was postponed back in April 2020.
However, Kenya have lost all four, but will count on their positive performance against South Africa where they were narrowly beaten 29-22 by South Africa, having lost to the same opposition 66-0 four days earlier. This followed on from back-to-back defeats to Madagascar in July.
Kenya will rely on Olympians Grace Adhiambo Okulu, Christabel Lindo, Philadelphia Orlando, Camilla Atieno and Janet Okello to propel the team to greater heights as they seek to qualify for their first rugby world cup ever.
The five experienced players were among 11 new faces included by head coach Felix Oloo rejuvenated Lionesses starting line-up and are likely to play a significant role against Colombia come Wednesday.
Lionesses will rely on the experience of back-row duo, Sheila Chajira, Leah Wambui and the speed of Janet Okello if they are to keep their Rugby World Cup dream alive.
If successful, Kenya will compete with sides from Europe, Asia and Oceania (Samoa) for the last ticket to Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand, which has been rescheduled for next year.
On the other hand, Colombia are physically bigger than their opponents but if Kenya can match them upfront, the athleticism of their seven players could be the deciding factor as they seek to achieve where their male counterparts failed.
Initially, the match was supposed to be staged in April last year, but it was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
The Lionesses booked a date with Colombia after finishing second in the 2019 Rugby Africa Women’s cup, while the South American side beat Brazil 23-19 in their Sudamérica Rugby region playoff fixture.