Kenya Simba’s will be hoping to replicate the 2016 Elgon Cup performance as they battle with neighbours Uganda Cranes in the opening leg on Saturday evening in Kampala.
They will however have a hard time if their away record to Uganda is something to go by. Kenya has beaten Uganda only three times in their own back yard in 11 attempts. The three wins came in 2016, 2013, 2010. The 2006 encounter ended in 7-7 draw while the remaining seven have been loses for the Simbas.
2016’s 48-10 win was the biggest score line that Kenya has ever picked in Kampala against Cranes in the Elgon Cup. The biggest score Uganda has registered over Kenya in Kampala is a 32-18 in 2011.
Last 10 clashes played in Kampala
Uganda 10-48 Kenya
Uganda 30-25 Kenya
Uganda 21-14 Kenya
Uganda 13-19 Kenya
Uganda 19-5 Kenya
Uganda 32- 18 Kenya
Uganda 25-33 Kenya
Uganda 18-13 Kenya
Uganda 20-3 Kenya
Uganda 29-10 Kenya
Uganda 7-7 Kenya
Just like Kenya, some senior player have been omitted in the list that will feature in the Elgon Cup tie. Matthias Ochwo a former cranes captain, Kenya Harlequins’s Ronald Musajjagulanyago, Kevin Makmot, Chris Lubanga, Ramathan Govule, James Injongat, Arthur Mpande, Gerald Ssewankambo, John Wandicho and Eric Kasiita have been left out.
The team had their preseason tour in Kakamega County where they faced Kenya Cup side Kabras but could not register any win. After falling 16-5 in the first clash, the Cranes drew 15-15 with Sugarmen in the second tie. After that dismay performance the players cited mistreatment during the trip and allowance issues. After the trip the team has been camping in preparation of the clash.
Philip Wokorach who impressed against Kenya during the last face off, has been handed a start in the Saturday’s clash and he might be a thorn in the flesh if not contained well. He has been named in the squad alongside his fellow teammate Ivan Chirabo who has also impressed at Kabras this season.
Cranes will be hoping to start off the strongly as they understand winning in Nairobi wont be easy for them. They are ranked 44th on the World Rugby Standings.
Unlike their opponents, Kenya’s preparation have been close smooth. A few days of training in Kenya and South Africa plus a test match against European side Germany has been part of their preparation. The team’s first match of the season was in South Africa where they lost to 26-12 to Durbell RFC, the former SARU champions.
Kenyan head coach Jerome Paarwaters is keen to start the Elgon Cup defence strongly and has made just one change to his squad that fell to Germany. Injured Skipper Wilson Kopondo has been replaced by Oliver Mang’eni.
All eyes will be Darwin Mukidza who will be captaining the side. Having been spectacular during the just concluded Kenya Cup season many will be hoping to see him replicate the same in the National team.
Joshua Chisanga will be another player to watch in the team. He wont start the match since he has been named on the substitute’s bench. The Newcastle falcons’ man is expected to bring on his experience in the final half of the match.
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