Kabras Sugar lock George Nyambua will captain the Kenya Simbas side that will face Hong Kong on Sunday in the first of two international matches to be played at the RFUEA grounds.
Nyambua, who will start at flank, will skipper a side that will see six players make their international debut against the Far East Asian side.
Head coach Jerome Paarwater has made a total of 17 changes in total from the team that played Zimbabwe and Namibia last month in the Africa Gold Cup. The six, James Kubasu, Philip Ikambili, Emmanuel Mavala, Elkeans Musonye, Brad Owako and Alex Olaba were named to the match day squad released on Wednesday by team manager Wangila Simiyu at the RFUEA grounds, Nairobi.
A seventh player, Benjamin Marshall of Nondies could make his debut from the bench. KCB’s Oliver Mangeni returns to the team to pair Homeboyz’s Emmanuel Mavala, while Strathmore’s Elkeans Musonye starts at flank with Mwamba’s Edwin Machanje being the eighth-man.
Impala’s James Kubasu and Dennis Karani will be the props while Philip Ikambili of Homeboyz comes in as the hooker.
Biko Adema is back at fly-half alongside Vincent Mose who is back from playing rugby in Uganda. According the Simiyu, the changes were effected in order to allow a number of upcoming players prove their worth.
“We have so many talented players who did not make to play the Gold Cup and this is their time to shine. It is a mixture of youth and experience and we remain confident that they can deliver against Hong Kong,” Simiyu told journalists.
It will be the team’s first match since their crushing 45-7 loss away to Namibia. The result saw Kenya finish second in the Gold Cup as Namibia retained their title. And Simiyu is confident the squad can deliver on Sunday.
“These players are extremely talented and they will have the opportunity to show it on Sunday. We are taking these two matches very seriously as they will gauge our preparations for the World Cup qualifiers,” he added.
Simbas will be using the matches to prepare for November’s four nations test series in Hong Kong and next year’s 2019 World Cup qualifiers. Kenya, ranked 25th, has landed an invite to the Hong Kong Cup slated for November 10 to 18 this year, where they will take on defending champions Russia (21), Chile (27) and the hosts.
The 28 –man Hong Kong team, who are ranked one place above Kenya, will arrive in Nairobi tomorrow led by head coach Leigh Jones and skipper Nick Hewson. The second test will be played on August 26.
Vincent Mose, Dennis Muhanji, Patrice Agunda, Brad Owako, Alex Olaba, Biko Adema, Lyle Asigilwa, James Kubasu, Philip Ikambili, Dennis Karani, Emmanuel Mavala, Oliver Mang’eni Elkeans Musonye, George Nyambua (captain)Edwin Machanje Replacements Peter Karia, Oscar Simiyu,Bram Mayaka, Ronnie Mwenesi, Steve Otieno, Sam Onsomu, Kenny Andola, Benjamin Marshall
Management: head coach – Jerome Paarwater
Assistant coaches: Dominique Habimana, Charles Govi
Team Manager- Wangila Simiyu
S&C – Richard Ochieng’
Physio – Christopher Makachia