NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – Kenya Under-20 rugby head coach Paul Odera hopes the advantage of playing this year’s Barthes Cup at home will spur them to win the trophy and qualify for the World Junior Trophy for the first time.
Kenya hosts the four-nation tournament on Thursday and Sunday at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka with Odera hoping playing at the Lion’s Den will spur them to do better.
“Playing at home is a big advantage especially psychologically. Can we qualify fir the World Junior Trophy? Yes we can. At home I have seen Kenyan teams raise their level and I believe we can replicate this,” Odera said on Tuesday as he named his squad for the tournament.
The tactician will be taking charge of his final match for the Chipu before he scales up to take charge of the senior team, the Simbas ahead of the new season that starts with June’s Elgon Cup.
In his squad of 25, Odera has named four foreign based players. Rotuk Rahedi from Oilfield college, Sedburgh School’s Michael Brighetti as well as Owain Ashley and George Kiryazi from Merchiston Castle have been included in the team.
The team which has been in residential training since Sunday will be skippered by Kenya Harlequins’ Boniface Ochieng and assisted by KCB’s Samwel Asati.
“I am very excited about this group of players because I have coached some of them since they were six. We also have quite a number who have been through the system from Under-13 and risen through the levels and it’s a good mix of players,” Odera stated.
He added’ This team has higher skill levels than the previous years and we have had a good time over the last few days trying to bring everything together.”
CHipu play Tunisia in the semi-final match on Thursday evening and victory will propel them to the final where they will meet the winner between Namibia and Senegal.
Kenya reached last year’s finals in Windhoek losing 37-18 to hosts Namibia. This year though, Odera is confident they can challenge the Southern Africans and win the title on home soil.
Chipu Squad on Barthes Cup Duty:
Bonface Ochieng- Captain (Kenya Harlequins), Ian Njenga(Nondies), Rotuk Rahedi(Millfield College), Emmanuel Silungi(Homeboyz), Hibrahim Ayoo(Menengai Oilers), James Mcgreevy(Kenya Harlequins), Brian Amaitsa (Nondies), Darren Kahi(Blakblad), Samuel Asati – VC(KCB), Dominic Coulson(Unattached) Beldad Ogeta(Menengai Oilers), Owain Ashley(Merchiston Castle), George Maranga(KCB), Geoffrey Okwach(KCB), Jeff Mutuku(Kenya Harlequins), Wilfred Waswa(Northern Suburbs), Collins Obure(Blakblad), Ian Masheti(Impala Saracens), Frank Aduda(Impala Saracens), George Kiryazi(Merchiston Castle), Samuel Were(LaiserHill Academy), Barry Young (Kabras Sugar), Douglas Kahuri (Kenya Harlequins), Michele Brighetti( Sedburgh School), Andrew Matoka(Strathmore University).
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