Three debutantes have been named in Mwamba RFC’s squad preparing to take on Western Bulls RFC in Kenya Cup opener on Saturday afternoon at Nairobi Railway Club.
Head coach Johnny Mbai named Joe Otieno at outside centre giving the youngster his first Kenya Cup start. Flanker Lucas Ngatia and 18-year old scrum half Brian Tabu will start off the bench.
Explaining the inclusion of the rookies, Mbai said: “It’s a tradition here at Mwamba to give opportunities to young and talented players a chance to grow. Last year we had 18 debuts in Kenya Cup and we were very competitive missing out on playoff place by a whisker. Otieno has played for Mwamba before in preseason against KCB and Impala and he had quite a good game. Ngatia has been massive in training. He’s physical and solid in defense. For Brian, his game last weekend against Impala showed that he can withstand pressure at that level.”
The squad has had an intensive 8-week preseason training during which the coaches had a chance to look at new recruits and asses the other players. “We’ve trained well for the last couple of weeks and the players that have been named today (Thursday evening) gave good account of themselves,” he spoke to MwambaRugby.Com.
On the upcoming game against Western Bulls, Mbai noted that Mwamba has not beaten Bulls in the last three season and this was the time that they had to break the duck. “Bulls will be coming into this match with superior record against and will definitely have a go at us. But we’re Nairobi not in Kakamega and I know the boys are mentally prepared to take them down.”
Mbai also rued the unavailability of Brad Owako and Victor Wayodi due to injuries or other commitments. “Wayodi is out due an ankle injury he got last weekend while Brad has some off pitch issues he’s sorting out. These two will definitely be missed,” he added.
The match against Western Bulls will kick off at 4.00pm and will be preceded by a Nationwide league fixture between Mwamba III and newcomers Eastlanders. Tickets will retail at 250bob.