Kenya Simbas are just a win away from claiming the Africa Rugby Gold Cup following Saturday’s 41-24 mauling of Zimbabwe at the much-dreaded Hartsfield grounds in Bulawayo.
The Simbas returned to Bulawayo—where they have endured many big losses in the past—hoping to make a statement and they duly delivered when it mattered most, coming from behind to notch the memorable win that leaves them second on the standings with 17 points, three behind leaders and defending champions Namibia who beat Uganda 48-24 in Kampala.
However, it will not be an easy run to the title for Kenya as they are up against favourites Namibia in Windhoek this weekend, where they have to win to be crowned continental kings.
Simbas skipper Wilson K’opondo says his team-mates are drawing strength from their recent performances where they have beaten the likes of Hong Kong, Senegal, Uganda, Tunisia and also believe the sneaky Welwitschias are beatable at their turf, having narrowly edged out Zimbabwe 31-26 in Windhoek two weeks ago.
“It is a big win. We came here knowing Zimbabwe were going to make things tough but we took our chances well and won the match. It is a good win but we still had a lot of mistakes which we need to cut down heading to Namibia,” said K’opondo.
Of the five tries Simbas had, their forwards scored four, something that has been lauded by many as well as their brilliance in set pieces and with backrower Davis Chenge also crossing over the chalk, Jerome Parwaater’s charges believe they are on the brink of something special.
Eighth man Joshua Chisanga was the talk of the match after the Newcastle Falcons forward unleashed terror on the Sables with serious carries and bump offs which mostly resulted to gaining huge yards for Kenya to pin extra points on the score board.
Simbas upfront tackling technique was also on point though the backline was slower and it was up to the forwards to make carries that left the Zimbabweans in awe.
In the decisive match this Saturday, Kenya will be boosted by the return of second rower Oliver Mang’eni, who will be joining the team in the course of the week after missing the last three games due to work commitments.
The tournament will conclude on August 5 where Zimbabwe will visit Uganda as Senegal travel to struggling Tunisia who might be headed for relegation.