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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya to play Namibia, Portugal ahead of Rugby World Cup qualifier

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya 15s rugby team will play Namibia in an international friendly in October as part of their build-up for the World Cup repechage qualifiers. Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss Richard Omwela also hinted that plans are afoot to have the team play Portugal in November in France.

The Repechage Cup has four continental losers from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Only one team will secure the final ticket to the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Kenya will face off against Hong Kong of China, Germany and Canada from Nov. 14-23.

Head coach Ian Snook said a lack of international matches was to blame for his side’s loss to Namibia in the Gold Cup which stopped Kenya from clinching the automatic ticket to the World Cup.

“The players need to compete against the best in the world and learn from the best. We need international matches and that was our problem in the Africa Gold Cup,” Snook said on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Six teams competed in the Gold Cup with Namibia remaining unbeaten. Kenya was second, Uganda third while Morocco, Tunisia and Zimbabwe propped up the table.

Kenya and Namibia faced off in Windhoek last month in a winner-takes-all clash and the hosts won 53-28 to book a place in next year’s World Cup. KRU says the two warm up matches against Namibia and Portugal will help the team jell and ease the stage fright of the players, some who will be making their debut at the highest level.

KRU says the preparations for the team to compete in the Repechage will cost about 300,000 U.S. dollars. Coach Snook has since called a squad of 24 to camp and utility players Nelson Oyoo, Andrew Amonde, Dennis Ombachi and Sammy Oliech who failed to report to training on Monday, are expected to show up after competing in the local leagues.

           

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