Kenya began their Victoria Cup campaign with a gritty come from behind 11-10 victory over visiting Zimbabwe in a closely contested tie at the RFUEA on Saturday 12th June 2010. This match was notable for four reasons.
1.The three Simiyu brothers, Nato,Innocent and Victor started and finished this match for Kenya.
2. This was the first Kenyan international match that required a decision from the Television Match Official (TMO)
3. David Ambunya made his debut for Kenya
4. Innocent Simiyu, Victor Sudi and Moses Kola completed a treble of victories against Zimbabwe.
The Sables took the game to their hosts straight from kick off but were caught out by winger Peter Abuoga's punt that took the pressure off the Kenyans, taking Zimbabwe back to their half. Zimbabwe would soon regroup, incessantly pounding the hosts as the half wore on. Resolute Kenyan defending kept them alive as Zimbabwe kept asking questions of their hosts. A rare Kenyan foray saw them win a penalty that Abuoga failed to score, the match remaining scoreless after twenty minutes.
Zimbabwe's pressure would earn them a try ten minutes from half time when winger Lloyd Machanjaira touched down out wide. Danny Robertson's conversion gave the Sables a 7-0 lead. Kenya's response was typically swift,winning a penalty soon after the restart. Abuoga sliced this kick with the scores still reading 7-0 in the visitors' favour. A moment of indecision from fly half Nato Simiyu saw Kenya squander a great try scoring opportunity, opting to carry the ball when spreading it wide seemed the easier thing to do. His side kept up the pressure , winning another penalty that Abuoga put over, cutting Zimbabwe's lead to 7-3 at half time.
Kenya were slow off the blocks, finding themselves on the ropes as Zimbabwe literally threw the kitchen sink at their hosts. Zimbabwe thought they had scored a try but the TMO ruled that the Zimbabwean ball carrier was held up.Kenyan coach Michael "Tank" Otieno threw on Moses Kola,Andrew Amonde and Edwin Alubaka for Peter Mutai, Paul Oimbo and Vincent Ongera respectively but the Sables kept piling the pressure. They won a scrum on the Kenyan five yard, failing to make this work to their advantage as they continued battering Kenya. This pressure saw Kenya penalized for an infringement but Roberston spurned the opportunity to stretch the Zimbabwean lead. He would eventually stretch the lead to 10-3 with another penalty.
Robertson's penalty stunned Kenya into a immediate renaissance of sorts, Wilson K'Opondo breaking through several tackles before offloading to Daniel Kiptoo who played in Innocent Simiyu who raced five yards before grounding the ball for a captain's try. Abuoga missed this conversion with the scores at 10-8 in Zimbabwe's favour. The hosts would soon lose influential prop Joel Nganga to the sin bin as fourteen man Kenya battled on, winning a penalty off a Zimbabwean infringement. Kola gladly put this over, giving Kenya an 11-10 lead. The one man deficit clearly took its toll on the Kenyans as they desparately held out under incessant Zim pressure.
"Tank" soon threw on Tony Mutai for Ben Nyambu and gave nineteen year old David Ambunya his Kenya debut as the hitherto cagey match exploded into life with ten minutes left to play. Nganga's return from the sin bin was timely as Kenya managed to ride the Zimbabwe storm , holding out for a famous 11-10 win.
This was a sentimental victory for Michael "Tank" Otieno who lost in four previous fixtures against Zimbabwe in 1981, 1985,1987 and 1989. This was Kenya's third successive home win over Zimbabwe, adding to the 19-12 win in 2002 and the 32-24 result in 2003.
1. Joel Nganga (Quins), 2. Vincent Ongera (Quins), 3.Daniel Kiptoo(Quins), 4. Wilson K'Opondo (Machine), 5. Michael Aung (Nondies, Vice Captain), 6. Ben Nyambu (Nondies), 7. David Mogere (Quins), 8. Paul Oimbo (Impala), 9. Peter Mutai (KCB), 10. Nato Simiyu (Impala), 11. Peter Abuoga (Quins), 12. Patrice Agunda (Quins), 13. Innocent Simiyu (Impala, Captain),14. Victor Sudi (Quins), 15. Vincent Mose (Impala)
16. Edwin Alubaka (KCB),17. Andrew Amonde (KCB), 18. Tony Mutai (Quins), 19. Nzioka Muema(Impala), 20. Moses Kola (Impala), 21. David Ambunya (Quins), 22. Naftaly Bondo (Quins)
Head Coach - Michael 'Tank' Otieno Deputy Coach - Edward Kinyany Assistant Coach - Charles Ngovi Team Manager - Leonard Simiyu
1.Vakai Hove, 2.Justin Buchanan, 3. Rockface Gurumani (c) 4.Fortune Chipendo, 5.Zacks Tondoro 6.Gardner Nechironga, 7.Jacques Leitao, 8.Norman Mukondiwa 9. Tapiwa Mafi, 10. Danny Robertson, 11.Lloyd Machanjaira, 12.Paul Staak, 13. Daniel Hondo, 14.Wesley Mbanje, 15. Tafadzwa Mhende
16.Denford Mutamangira, 17. Prayer Chitenderu, 18.Sanele Sibanda, 19. Njabulo Ndlovu, 20. Scott Jones, 21. Josh Rowe, 22. Paul Jessub
Head Coach: Brendon Dawson Assistant Coach: Cyprian Mandenge Team Physio/Doc: Farai Muguwe Team Manager: Nody Kanyangarara
Match Referee: Ramsey Olinga (Uganda)
Assistant Referee: Gilbert Kwaya (Uganda)
Assistant Referee: David Kirabira (Uganda)
Match Commissioner: Paul Sigombe (Uganda)