Kenya Simbas head coach Ian Snook named five uncapped players in his squad as they received Sh53 million sponsorship ahead of their opening Rugby Africa Gold Cup match against Morocco in Casablanca on Saturday.
Kenya Under-20 international Edmund Anya will start at the wing with Kabras Sugar's Colman Were starting at hooker. The Homeboyz trio of Mohammed Omollo, Zedden Marrow and Max Kang'eri all start from the bench.
Overall, there are four changes to the side that started last month's 34-16 Elgon Cup away win over Uganda, with Were slotting in ahead of Peter Karia who is relegated to the bench.
Philip Ikambili, who plays as a hooker starts as openside flanker taking the place of Elkeans Musonye, who will miss out on the Morocco tour. Biko Adema starts at fullback, while Edmund Anya takes up the wing and Darwin Mukidza starting at fly-half.
"I slotted Mukidza at fly- half with Adema moving to fullback since I noticed that Mukidza is a good all rounder and understands what is around him and can change the game easily, " said Snook.
"I have also moved Ikambili to openside flanker from hooking since he is nimble and strong."
Jacob Ojee, Martin Owilah, Vincent Mose and Isaac Adimo are unavailable due to academic and work commitments, while Oscar Simiyu misses out through injury, his place on the bench taken up by Moses Amusala.
Erick Kerre is also recalled to the squad after missing the Uganda fixture.
This year's Rugby Africa Gold Cup doubles up as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
There was a sigh of relief for Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), who are going through financial difficulties, when Kenya Breweries Marketing Manager Christine Mwaura delivered a sponsorship cheque of Sh53 million.
The two-year deal with Kenya Simbas will end in December 2019.
"We are glad to be associated with Kenya Simbas, having also been part of their journey to the 2015 World Cup," said Mwaura, whose company sponsored the team to 2015 Vodacom Cup.
Kenya Simbas failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup on inferior aggregate, losing out to Namibia whom they had beaten.
Already, champions Namibia started their campaign strongly, thrashing Uganda 55-6 with Morocco and Zimbabwe battling to a 23-23 draw in their opening matches last weekend.
Kenya Simbas squad for Morocco match
Simbas: 15. Biko Adema (Nondies), 14. Edmund Anya (Strathmore Leos), 13. Peter Kilonzo (KCB), 12. Leo Seje (Impala Saracens), 11. Tony Onyango (Homeboyz), 10. Darwin Mukidza (KCB), 9. Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), 1. Patrick Ouko (Homeboyz), 2. Colman Were (Kabras Sugar), 3. Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), 4. Andrew Chogo (Kabras Sugar), 5.Oliver Mang'eni (KCB), 6. George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), 7. Philip Ikambili (Homeboyz), 8.Davis Chenge (KCB, captain)
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Peter Karia (KCB), 17. Moses Amusala (KCB), 18. Curtis Lilako (KCB), 19. Malcolm Onsando (Kenya Harlequin), 20. Erick Kerre (Impala Saracens), 21. Mohammed Omollo (Homeboyz), 22.Zeden Marrow (Homeboyz), 23. Max Kang'eri (Homeboyz)
MANAGEMENT: Ian Snook (Head Coach), Murray Roulston, Charles Ngovi, Dominique Habimana (Assistant coaches), Richard Ochieng' (Conditioning coach), Chris Makacha (Physio)