Finally, The Simbas Hunt At Home.
This Saturday, you have an opportunity that you simply cannot pass up on. For the first time this year, you have the opportunity to watch the mighty Simbas on the hunt at the RFUEA, when they take on Uganda in the second leg of the Elgon cup. An encounter that doubles up as a Rugby Africa division 1A fixture.
We couldn’t have asked for a better opponent, as far as history and the quest for regional dominance goes. Though it must be said about the latter, we are all but done.
Just to catch you up, this will be the Simbas 5th fixture, this year. They have so far beaten Brazil (18-17), Zimbabwe (61-15) and more importantly for this fixture, Uganda (48-10). The only blemish in their exploits this season was a humbling 51-26 defeat at the hands of Namibia in Windhoek about a fortnight ago.
Those results have seen Kenya break into that long awaited, top 25 World Rugby ranking bracket, we now sit at 24th in the world. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in…we are the 24th ranked rugby playing nation in THE WORLD. The only thing we are ranked higher in globally, are maybe corruption and a sheer will to succeed.
This Saturday, you have the opportunity to watch the 24th ranked side in World rugby as they host their next door neighbours, Uganda, who have also been on a rich vein of form since that 48-10 loss in Kampala. They have so far risen 8 places in the rankings to 42nd, after beating Zimbabwe 34-27 in Harare.
At the RFUEA this Saturday they will come face to face with the Lion that mauled them 48-10 in their backyard on 4th June. Overall, the Simbas have played Uganda 26 times, winning 16, losing 10. This will be the 13th edition of the Elgon cup, Kenya have so far won 9 titles, Uganda are on 3. The last time Uganda beat Kenya was in 2013 at the Kasarani Stadium where they posted a 17-16 result.
For his match day 23, Jerome Paarwater has made some exciting changes, some enforced others tactical. For starters Darwin ‘the magician’ Mukidza will not play at the weekend, probably to the relief of the Cranes, only until they realise Ian Minjire slots in at wing. It is a well deserved rest for Mukidza who picked up a knock in Windhoek.
Perhaps the most exciting inclusion in the squad is at center where Patrice Agunda comes in at inside center to partner Nick Barasa. With Nato Simiyu at fly half and Edwin Achayo at 9, you can already feel the excitement at that combination running rings around the Cranes. Add Ambunya at 14, Tony Onyango at 15 and as mentioned earlier Ian Minjire at blind wing.
At the forwards, we will be fielding for the first time this season, our first choice lock pairing as Oliver Mang’eni and Ronnie Mwenesi return. Remember that galloping run the two made against Spain?
The highlight of the day however, has to be when Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu will finally run on to the pitch in national colours, for the first time at the RFUEA since 2010.
Wherever you will be, on the stands, at home or a bar catching the game on TV, at that moment I urge you to stop whatever it is you will be doing and applaud this gallant warrior of the game. For at that moment you will be witnessing arguably the greatest come back in sports history. I know that we all hope, we’ll see him in action alongside his brother at that point.
Alongside Namcos, Lyle Asiligwa, the Kang’ethe twins, Max Adaka, Isaac Adimo, Simon Muniafu and Peter Karia will also be on hand to make an impact off the bench.
Did I mention our back row, what about the three ‘fat’ ones at the front? I won’t even get started with them. Come watch them and the rest of the squad take on Uganda, in what promises to be an exciting encounter. I know we all expect a thorough thumping of Uganda, but I don’t think it will be that easy, which makes it an even more enticing encounter.
Grab your tickets early via Mpesa Paybill number – 951802. Account Name – Elgon Cup, to avoid the long queues. The main game kicks off at 3:30 PM, but being the smart Kenyans you are, you will check in at around 11am, get yourself the perfect seat, stock up on your Tusker then catch the future of Kenya rugby.
First up will be the Get into Rugby programme, then schools game between Ofafa Jericho and Alliance then the Kenya U19 taking on the Northern Suburbs Cubs. (You just have to see how big our under 19 boys are.) At this point you will be sufficiently warmed up, you will be now singing and dancing as you await the big one.
The Programme :
Get Into Rugby Festival – 1030am -1130am
Alliance v Ofafa Jericho – 12.00pm
Kenya U19 v Northern Suburbs Cubs – 1.30pm
Kenya v Uganda – 3.30pm
The Simbas: 1. Moses Amusala, 2. Sammy Warui, 3. Curtis Lilako, 4. Ronnie Mwenesi, 5. Oliver Mang’eni, 6. Brian Nyikuli (captain), 7. Mike Okombe, 8. Tony Owuor, 9. Edwin Achayo, 10. Nato Simiyu, 11. David Ambunya, 12. Patrice Agunda, 13. Nick Barasa, 14. Ian Minjire, 15. Tony Onyango.
16. Peter Karia, 17. James Kang’ethe, 18. Jospeh Kang’ethe, 19. Simon Muniafu, 20. Max Adaka, 21. Lyle Asiligwa, 22. Isaac Adimo, 23. Innocent Simiyu
See you all at the RFUEA on Saturday as we shout, loud and proud… SIMBA NI MOJA!!