NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Kenya Lionesses skipper Philadelphia Olando has painted the picture of just how bad the girls want to be earn core status in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, saying the team is ‘tired of the difficult life’.
The Lionesses travel to Hong Kong for next week’s qualifiers with the hope of achieving a dream that came inches short last season with their journey ending in a sudden death defeat to South Africa in the semi-finals.
“Our target this year is to get to the final and qualify. I believe this year we are ready to conquer. We are tired of this difficult life down here and we need to go up there and see what’s in store for us,” Olando told Capital Sport.
Kenya is in Pool B alongside hosts Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Uganda with the winner of the 12-nation tournament earning core status for next season’s series.
“We have picked up lessons from last year, biggest of them being that as a team we have to fight till the last minute. I think we gave up easily against South Africa last year but this time, we are tougher and we have also worked a lot on our set plays,” added the experienced Olando.
Head coach Kevin Wambua is also optimistic the girls have what it takes to achieve their life-long target of being a core team.
“The team is quite eager to go out there and compete. It’s quite a familiar pool because we know all the teams we are facing and we have played against them before. We have done oir homework on how we will approach each game,” noted the tactician.
He says the team has prepared well especially in terms of fitness and conditioning as well as the execution aspects of the game including set pieces and defense structure.
Wambua has named a scored with a clean blend of youth and experience with the Kenya Rugby Union women’s rugby festival playing a key role in helping the technical team discover more talent.
“The festival has helped the girls get some valuable playing time and improve on fitness and match readiness. There is a good balance in the squad with the young and experienced faces and the new players have been phenomenal for their clubs. We hope they can translate that form to the national team,” he further stated.
The only international exposure for the team this season was the Dubai Sevens late last year where they finished bottom of the pile after losing all their games.
But despite the performance, Wambua says they picked invaluable experience and is confident the lessons will come vital for them in Hong Kong.
Kenya Lionesses Hong Kong squad
Philadelphia Olando- Captain, Sheila Chajira, Sinaida Aura, Janet Okello, Janet Owino, Diana Awino, Cynthia Camilla, Grace Adhiambo, Christabel Lindo, Sophia Ayieta, Stella Wafula, Vivian Akumu
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