NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s 15s team will weather the storm and
qualify for its maiden World Cup despite missing out on the
automatic Africa ticket to rivals Namibia.
Head coach Ian Snook
regrets losing his first game since taking over in February, but
remained adamant that his mission to guide the team to its
inaugural World Cup in Japan in 2019 is still attainable.
“I have great pride
in the team. They have shown their ability and gave everything
despite losing to Namibia 53-28. Nobody can question their
commitment. We lost our shape a bit in decision making and
played much into their hands, but we gave absolutely everything
on the pitch,” coach Snook said Wednesday in Nairobi.
The East African
nation will now have to rebuild and face losers from three other
regions Germany (Europe), Canada (Americas) and Hong Kong, China
(Asia) for the four-team repechage tournament in Marseille,
France in Nov. Kenya has played against both Germany and Hong
Kong, China posting mixed results.
They drew and lost
to Germany in two games and have similar result against Hong
Kong, China. However, it will be the first time the three teams
will be facing Canada. The winner of the repechage will fill the
final slot in the 24 teams for the World Cup.
wants the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) to organize friendly matches
with top teams to help sharpen his side prior to traveling to
The team had planned
to have a week-long high-performance training camp in South
Africa, but it was not possible due to a cash crunch.
requires high level performance against top teams to produce
good results. To be better we need to have more games because I
look at these boys everyday and I am sure they have what it
takes to play at the high level, we are only let down by the
lack of preparedness,” added the coach.
Team captain Davis
Chenge said his side will put behind their troubles and focus on
making history as the first side from Kenya to clinch a ticket
to the World Cup.
“I believe with good
preparations we will be able to compete for a place. It is a
tough tournament yes, but the boys are really psyched to go for
it. We will work on our mistakes and by the time we get to the
repechage, we will be better,” he said.