Former Nakuru and Kabras RFC coach Dominique Habimana has sent an inspirational message to the Kenya Simbas, following their Rugby Africa Cup tournament stint in France.
Simbas finished second in the tournament, after a 36-0 final loss to Namibia, and will now compete in the Final Qualification Tournament in November for their chance to qualify for their maiden World Cup.
Habimana who guided Nakuru RFC to a Kenya Cup title in 2014 and also coached the Simbas during Jerome Paarwaters’ reign took to Facebook to congratulate the Simbas for their efforts in the tournament. While he admits the Rugby World Repechage is an even “bigger task”, he believes Kenya can still achieve a maiden World Cup appearance.
“A warm welcome home, Kenya Simbas! We came up short for the direct ticket, on a particularly hard day at the office. Heads up! We just go through the scenic route! Boys, for that even bigger task, use everything at your disposal: First, count on the unshakable 50m+ for inspiration and strength. Second, keep working not only on skills and conditioning but also on your great mental positivity,” reads the post by the former Simbas forwards coach.
“As for the occasional negative comments here and there, use them for character building! And keep moving forward. Karibuni sana, iko mechi!” Further reads the post.
Simbas had begun the tournament on a high, dispatching neighbours Uganda 42-7 in the quarterfinal and Algeria 36-33 in the semifinal, before falling 36-0 to Namibia, who booked a ticket in what will be their seventh Rugby World Cup.
They join hosts France, New Zealand, Italy, and Uruguay in Pool A in the 2023 showpiece.
Kenya on the other hand will head to the repechage tournament set for November, where they will face Portugal, Hong Kong, Tonga and Chile or the USA in a round-robin format.
Winner of the Rugby World Cup Repechage tournament will play in Group C of the Rugby World Cup, alongside Wales, Fiji, Australia and Georgia.