Story by CHARLES NYENDE/COURTESY OF THE DAILY NATION
Publication Date: 8/9/2007
Kenya coach Michael “Tank” Otieno has made 12 changes to the national rugby team that lost to Uganda in May for the return Elgon Cup fixture on Saturday at Rugby Football Union of East Africa ground.
Survivors from the squad that lost 29-10 to Uganda in Kampala on May 26 include Lavin Asego and Sydney Nderitu of Mwamba and captain Daniel Kiptoo of Quins.
The others are the KCB band of Peter Mutai, Paul Murunga, Edwin Alubaka, Derrick Wamalwa, Arnold Odera and Anthony Ogot. Also included in the 22-man list is almost the entire sevens team that missed the first leg because of IRB sevens series duty — Mwamba brothers Collins Injera and Humphrey Khayange and triple brothers Innocent Simiyu, Victor Sudi of Harlequin and Impala’s Nato Simiyu.
The sevens players are expected to boast the backline that has come in for criticism for under-performing.
“Our backline has not really clicked and it is an area we have been working on. We want them to attack well but need to lay a good platform for that,” Otieno said.
Otieno said that selection was based on form, training attendance and combinations for the game.
The experienced coach, who travelled with the team to Kampala in May unofficially, as his appointment had not been effected, rued the poor preparations then.
“All the points Uganda scored came out of our mistakes and not from a build-up on their part,” he said.
Otieno, however, gave his healthy respect for Uganda saying they were no longer the pushover side that Kenya had got used to.
Uganda have beaten Kenya in their last two encounters and are the defending Elgon Cup champions.
Captain Kiptoo said the selected team was the strongest Kenya could assemble and will be going for early tries on Saturday. The starting line up will be named tomorrow.
Kenya must overturn a 19-point deficit to wrest the Elgon Cup from Uganda. KRFU secretary Frank Sabwa announced yesterday that gate charges will be Sh200.
“The paid entry comes with a free can of Tusker as long as you are an adult,” he said.
The return leg, which will be handled by Namibia referees Johann Tredoux, Attie Byleveldt and Wikkie Hough, is sponsored by KBL through their flagship brand, Tusker.
In another development, Uganda coach Yayiro Kasasa has made three changes to the team that is expected in Nairobi on Thursday night.
The new faces are John Musoke, Emmanuel Ochaya and Dennis Etuket. Left out of the squad are Bonny Moro, Bobby Bigamba and Richard Lumu.
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