Favourable pool for Lionesses at Africa 7s show

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports | Local - BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA /

Kenya Lionesses will face Zim­babwe, Sene­gal and Mada­gas­car in Pool B of the forth­com­ing Africa Women’s Sevens Cham­pi­onships in Tu­nisia later this month.

Cham­pi­ons South Africa face Uganda, Tu­nisia, Morocco in pool A . The Lionesses will start their cam­paign against Mada­gas­car be­fore fac­ing Sene­gal and com­plete their pre­lim­i­nary as­sign­ments against Zim­babwe. The win­ner of the qual­i­fier gets a di­rect ticket to the Rugby Sevens cham­pi­onships slated for San Fran­siscso, USA in June 2018.

The run­ners up will qual­ify for the Com­mon­wealth Games in Perth Aus­tralia. For the first time in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion, the teams will be ranked af­ter the open­ing day paving way for the quar­ters on the sec­ond day.

Head coach Kevin Wam­bua said they are tar­get­ing the World Cup and ob­served that the gap be­tween them and hold­ers South Africa, based on last year’s cham­pi­onship in Harare - where they lost by five points 22-17, have nar­rowed. The team has been train­ing for the past one month and has had a res­i­den­tial train­ing camp in Nairobi in prepa­ra­tion for the qual­i­fiers.

“The girls are more than ready. We have 10 to 12 days of train­ing left be­fore we go to Tu­nisia and we are rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge of com­pet­ing and qual­i­fy­ing for next year’s World Cup,” said Wam­bua.

How­ever, di­rec­tor of women’s and age-grade rugby, Sylvia Ka­mau said the girls could not play enough com­pet­i­tive build up matches due to fi­nan­cial con­straints.

“It would have been good to play at a com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ment to sharpen the girls’ ba­sic skills and rec­tify any mis­take we may see but we did not have any funds to have the team travel,” said Ka­mau.

/COUR­TESY

France’s Caro­line Ladag­nous tack­les Kenya’s Linet Arasa dur­ing the 2016 Rio Olympics

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