Sheila Chajira has been named captain of the Kenya Lionesses, as they prepare for the upcoming Rugby Africa Women’s first division competition in Madagascar.
Chajira, who last played for the team in August 2021, is among the 11 changes made by Head Coach Dennis Mwanja from the squad that emerged victorious in the 2022 Rugby Africa Women’s Pool B tournament in Kampala, Uganda.
Joining Chajira in the revamped squad are Enid Ouma, Mercy Migongo, Diana Awino, Valentine Atieno, Nelly Chikombe, Lewin Mwevezi, Sinaida Mokaya, Hellen Anyango, Mitchelle Akinyi, and Freshia Oduor. The selection signals a blend of youth and experience, with Mwanja aiming to instill discipline, commitment, and a winning mentality within the team.
Expressing confidence in the squad’s potential, Mwanja, a former Kenya Sevens and Fifteens international, said, “We want to take our sport to the top level of rugby because for so long we have fallen short and almost been there.” He emphasized the importance of discipline and the right attitude in his players, underlining their role as representatives of Kenya in the upcoming tournament.
The Lionesses’ campaign in Madagascar kicks off with a match against the hosts on 20 May, followed by a clash against South Africa on 24 May. They will conclude their campaign with a match against Cameroon on 28 May. The tournament serves as a qualifier for the second tier of the newly launched World Rugby WXV, with the winner securing a place in this prestigious competition. The runner-up will qualify for the third tier, all contributing to the expansion and development of women’s international rugby.
Kenya Lionesses squad for Rugby Africa First Division
Sheila Chajira (Captain). Enid Ouma, Judith Okumu (Vice Captains), Rose Otieno, Evelyne Kalemera, Natasha Emali , Knight Ohvoma, Bernadette Olesia. Hesla Khisa, Phoebe Akinyi, , Diana Kemunto, Grace Adhiambo. Ann Goretti, Jean Bisela, Maureen Muritu, Stellah Wafula_ Winnie Owino, Naomi Jelagat, Terry Ayesa, Diana Awino, Valentine Atieno, Nelly Chikombe, Lewin Mwevezi, Mercy Migongo, Sinaida Mokaya, Hellen Anyango, Mitchelle Akinyi, Freshia Oduor
HEAD COACH: Dennis Mwanja ASSISTANT COACH: Paul Murunga CONDITIONING COACH: Geoffrey Onyango TEAM MANAGER: Camtlyne Oyuayo PHYSIO: Levis Kituyi