Simbas skipper Kopondo to miss Morocco tie

Simbas skipper Kopondo to miss Morocco tie

Kenya to miss the services of skipper Wycliffe Kopondo when they travel to Cassablanca on Thursday to face the hosts Morocco in their opening Africa Gold Cup cum World Cup qualifier match on Saturday

Kenya 15s head coach Ian Snook before naming his team for Morocco

Kenya will be without skipper Wycliffe Kopondo when they travel to Cassablanca on Thursday to face the hosts Morocco in their opening Africa Gold Cup cum World Cup qualifier match on Saturday. Kopondo has failed to recover in time from a lower back injury and head coach Ian Snook says he is continuing with his rehabilitation.

The team will also be without Isaac Adimo and Jacob Ojee who have been ruled out because of exams according to Snook. The team will have five debutants, two of them starting in Cassablanca.

Despite the absence of the three, the New Zealander is confident that Kenya still has a strong squad, good enough to kick start the campaign with a win.

“I think we have a huge squad of 34 players and everyone of them deserves to be playing because they have put in the hard work. I am confident in the group we have selected, I know they can do the job. The young players have worked hard in training and deserve to be in the team,” further added the coach.

Edmund Anya will start on the wing while Coleman Were starting as hooker with the Homeboyz RFC trio of Mohammed Omollo, Zedden Marrow and Max Kang’eri all start from the bench.

The tactician has also rotated some players in terms of their position with deputy skipper Darwin Mukidza set to be handed a new play-making role and will start at fly half. Previously, Mukidza who turns out for Kenya Cup champions KCB has been playing at wing.

Meanwhile, Snook is confident that the team will start the campaign with a win and is wary of a Morocco side that started their campaign with a 23-23 draw away to Zimbabwe.

“They are a good strong side and we should take them very seriously. But looking at how we have trained I am very confident that we can start well,” Snook said.

Kenya has never won away to Morocco, losing on both occasions they travelled to North Africa. Their only win against them was in Nairobi.

Kenya 15s squad to Morocco:

Starting 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 Makachia (PHYSIO), Simiyu Wangila (TEAM MANAGER).

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