23 May 2018

Kenya: Four Debutantes in Lionesses' Africa 7s Team

Four players are in line to earn their maiden international caps when Kenya Lionesses launch their quest for a maiden Rugby Africa Women's Sevens Cup title this weekend in Gaborone, Botswana.

Head coach Kevin Wambua has drafted Diana Awino, Sarah Oluche, Sophia Ayieta and Prisca Nyerere to the Lionesses side that finished sixth at last month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The quartet replace Celestine Masinde, who is unavailable due to work commitments, Rachel Mbogo, who is recovering from injury and the unavailable duo of Stacy Awuor and Doreen Remour.

The Lionesses have met South Africa in the final of the last four editions and ended up losing, but Wambua has promised a different script this time around.

Wambua said beating South Africa twice at the Commonwealth Games and during the qualifiers for the 2018/2019 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in Hong Hong gives them the momentum.

The Lionesses beat South Africa 19-10 in the pool stages at Commonwealth Games. Kenya topped their pool at the Hong Kong Sevens qualifier for the 2018/2019 World Series, beating South Africa 24-12 among other teams.

However, they reached the semi finals but lost to South Africa 12-7 in extra time, having beaten Argentina 17-12 in the quarters.

In fact, Lionesses have an opportunity to lift the title after champions South Africa withdrew from the tournament.

The Lionesses headline Pool "A" which also features Madagascar and Senegal.

Tunisia are in Pool "B" with Uganda and Zimbabwe while Pool C features Morocco, hosts Botswana, Mauritius and Zambia.

"It's a shame that South Africa have withdrawn from this year's tournament. We really wanted to beat them," said Wambua, who cautioned his charges from complacency.

"The performance this season at Commonwealth and Hong Kong has shown considerable growth and maturity. It shows that we are processing as a team," said Wambua.

"The four debutantes, who are barely 20 years-old is a clear indication that we are building the team."

Lionesses leave the country on Thursday for the continental competition.

Rugby Africa Women's Sevens Cup Pools

Pool A: Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal

Pool B: Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Pool C: Morocco, Botswana, Mauritius, Zambia

Lionesses Squad

Philadelphia Olando, Sheila Chajira, Michelle Omondi, Grace Adhiambo, Linet Moraa, Camilla Cynthia, Janet Okello, Judith Auma, Diana Awino, Sarah Oluche, Sophia Ayieta,Prisca NyerereManagement: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Camilyne Oyuayo (TM), Ben Mahinda (Physio), Sammy Njogu (S&C)

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