Soya winners Lionesses chasing World Series slot in Hong Kong

Last year’s SOYA women’s sports team of the year, Kenya Lionesses are eyeing history as they seek to clinch a core status at the prestigious women’s HSBC Sevens World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong from April 5-6.
Head coach, Kevin Wambua, who was the 2017 SOYA first runner-up coach of the year, is confident of improving the team’s results after reaching the Main Cup quarters last year. Kenya were bundled out by Italy in the last eight.
The winner of the two-day tournament will earn a berth at the 2019 World Rugby Women’s Sevens series. Lionesses have been seeking to join their male counterparts, Shujaa in the global tour outing.
“For us Hong Kong is very key and you can’t compare it to Commonwealth Games. However, we are humble and proud to be participating in the Commonwealth Games even though Hong Kong remains our biggest goal,” Wambua noted.
Lionesses will open their campaign against Papua New Guinea at 5.30am EAT before facing Mexico at 8.04am. They wrap up preliminary round against titans South Africa at 11am. Wambua said their aim is to top the group.
“Last time, we lost in the quarters but we have regrouped and hope to come back stronger. The players are fitter and confident and I have faith in them. At the end of day two, I am pretty sure we will be among the best,” a confident Wambua stated.
“We have assessed a few of their (South Africa) games including how they played in Sydney and we know how to counter them and the kind of approach to apply when we meet them. We are currently changing our technical approach. We believe our players need to be strong mentally and that is what we have been working on for the last three weeks,” the coach added.
With the Lionesses set to compete at the Commonwealth Games in April, Wambua has selected a blend of youth and experience with seasoned Philadelphia Olando leading the squad.
“We have balanced youth and experience. The young players have worked hard and raised their hands for selection. If you look at the squad, most players are between the ages of 23 and 26 and as we play now, our eyes are also on the future,” the coach opined.
Kenya Lionesses squad
Philadelphia Olando (Captain), Sheila Chajira (Vice Captain), Grace Adhiambo, Judith Auma, Sinaida Aura, Doreen Remour, Celestine Masinde, Linet Moraa, Rachel Mbogo, Janet Owino, Janet Okello, Camila Cynthia, Stacy Awuor * ( Stacy Awuor to link up with the squad in Gold Coast); Management: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Samuel Njogu (Conditioning Coach), Ben Mahinda ( Physio), Camilyne Oyuayo (Team Manager).

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