Kenya Lionesses pounce on Zambian rivals
Kenya Lionesses utility Bernadette Olesia was the player of the match in the 36-17 win over Zambia in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup Pool B encounter at Wankulukuku on Saturday.
The Dennis Mwanja-coached side kicked off the women’s Cup tournament with a convincing win but was made to fight for the win against a stubborn Zambian side that kept knocking at the Lionesses’ try box to no avail.
In the first half of the game, Peruz Muyuka landed an unconverted try for a 5-0 lead before Grace Adhiambo converted Naomi Amuguni’s try for a 12-0 score after a period of dogged Zambian resistance.
Anne Goretti then added a drop goal for a 15-0 score before tries from Meryl Lyamba and Millie Katombo in between a Goretti penalty brought the score to 18-12.
Christine Lindo scored on the stroke of half-time to give the Lionesses a 23-12 lead at the break.
Soon after the intervals, Leah Wambui went over the chalk with the ever-present Goretti confirming the extras with the conversion for a 30-12 score.
Goretti would be at it again with a penalty that took Kenya 33-12 up before Lyamba added her brace,33-17 to the score line with Goretti adding the extras.
Keeping close tabs
Courtesy of their win the Lionesses now take full charge of Pool B ahead of the much-awaited fixture against Uganda on 2 November.
Africa champions South Africa will be keeping close tabs on the winner of Pool B with Namibia also in the mix to qualify for the next round of the tournament.
The second-placed team in Pool B will be relegated to Pool C to be replaced by the winner in Pool D and the same applies to Pool D for the event.
In other groups, Tunisia has a date with Senegal and Madagascar between October 14-23 in Pool C in Tunis, Tunisia.
Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast face off in pool D between November 3 – 13, 2022.
In the 2021 edition, the Lionesses lost both matches to Madagascar 27-15 and 10-0 respectively at Nyayo Stadium.
The winner of pool B will qualify for next year’s Pool A competition which also features continental champions South Africa and Namibia.
Before the team travelled to Kampala, Uganda coach Mwanja said the ladies were fit and had perfected the art of understanding the game ahead of the assignment.
Additionally, Mwanja said he was pleased with what he has seen from his players.
“We had to find a way to gauge how far the players have come in terms of understanding and match fitness, now that we haven’t scheduled any proper friendlies or any residential camps. However one can tell the girls have been improved based on the whole program covered and that gives me so much pride with the girls,” Mwanja said.