Control is key to winning Elgon Cup

By the punter
Jul 19, 2021
  • Dominique Habimana, the Kenya A coach has made minimal changes to the team to face Uganda Cranes in the return Elgon Cup match.

  • Kenya Lionesses have an 18 point lead in Elgon Cup although Enos Otieno, the team's coach has warned that the Lady Cranes are formidable upfront.

Controlling the tempo of the game and adhering to play structure will be key today when Kenya A host Uganda Cranes in the return leg of Elgon Cup at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa ground.

Domonique Habimana, the Kenya A head coach is clear on how his technical bench intends to bounce back and win in Nairobi. “Today, we want to control more of the game and turn pressure into points,” he said.

There have been minimal changes to the squad because the playes gave a good account of themselves especially since most of them were rookies. The biggest change in the return match today will be to adhere to the structures and offer a few variations and options in open play.

Containing the Ugandans who have two fast wingers requires a solid platform especially by the forwards. Habimana admitted Uganda played well a home. “They capitalized on our infringements which resulted into three penalties and a penalty try.”

It is a luxury Kenya A cannot afford at home. Seventeen of the players who travelled to Uganda were being capped for the first time. “Our undoing in the first leg was that we had a problem in execution.

But, I think we got over the jitters that made us leave so many points on the field at Kyadondo. The Elgon Cup is 160 minutes and we are down 7 points at halftime,” the coach projected.

Habimana explained that the team was assembled in two weeks and “our plan was to get the simple structures working for the first game. It was the first time we were playing as a team. What I liked about it is that the players wanted to get the job done and gel as quickly as possible.”

After the first leg, players and the technical bench sat down “and the understanding is that we had to get into try-scoring positions. What did not work was that we veered off the structure and were poor in finishing which coast us three tries.

Tighten general organization

We have tightened the play/structure, the subunits, backline speed, precision and lineouts. We will clean up our breakdown play and tighten our general organization and team play.”

Before the men’s match, Kenya Lionesses will tackle the Lady Cranes. Enos Otieno, the team’s head coach admitted it was no mean task beating Uganda away. He attributed the win to playing a running game and fitness of players in the seven-a-side team.

His main task in the second leg is to re-focus because one of the strongest points of the Uganda team has been their solid forwards. Although Kenya Lionesses measured up in the first leg where the forwards set up a good platforms and gave the backs plenty of running ball, this is still a key worry.

“We attacked at speed,” added the coach. But it is in this area where Otieno feels there is a big threat especially if Uganda are able to maintain their attacking flair at pace. “Their forwards are big and aggressive,” he noted.

In the first leg, what worked for Kenya was the set pieces. The return of utility back Philadelphia Olando is a big boost. “Her experience is invaluable and she is also skilled,” observed Otieno.

The key to a win this weekend is maintaining the structure and using the ball wisely. “At every opportunity, we will spread the ball out there because we have pace,” Otieno explained.

Kenya A: 15. Nato Simiyu, 14. Godfrey Mbeya, 13. Fabian Olando, 12. Kelvin Omiyo, 11. Leon Adongo, 10. Isaac Adimo, 9. Eden Agero, 8. Dalmus Chituyi, 7. Edwins Makori (captain), 6. Brian Sagara, 5. Malcolm Onsando, 4. Philip Owuor, 3. Anthony Orege, 2. Peter Karia, 1. Giles Littlewood. Replacements: 16. Ezra Lagat, 17. Dennis Karani, 18. Isaiah Nyariki, 19.Victor Brown, 20. Rocky Aguko, 21. Michael Wanjala, 22. Kennedy Moseti, 23. Jacob Ojee.

Uganda Cranes: 15. Solomon Okia, 14. Justin Kimono, 13. Oscar Kalyango, 12. patrick Leku, 11. Jonathan Onen, 10. Joseph Oredo, 9. Ivan Makmot, 8. Marvin Odongp, 7. Brian Asaba, 6. Arthur Mukama, 5. Romano Ogwal, 4. Timothy Kabonero, 3. Martial Tchumkam, 2. Paul Serungoji, 1. Brian Odongo. Replacements: 16. Syrus Watum, 17. Asuman Mugerwa, 18. John William Wandicho, 19. Andrew Olweny, 20. Ronald Mussajjagulanyago, 21. Davis Kyewalabye, 22. Chris Lubanga, 23. Lawrence Wakabi.

Kenya Lionesses: 15. Irene Atieno, 14. Janet Akello, 13. Celestine Masinde, 12. Philadelphia Olando, 11. Janet Awuor, 10. Doreen Remour (captain), 9. Mary Musieka, 8. Mary Otieno, 7. Camilyne Oyuayo, 6. Stacey Awuor, 5. Rachael Adhiambo, 4. Millicent Opala, 3. Dorcas Ocholi, 2. Rosehilda Kamanga, 1. Emily Achieng Oloo. Replacements: 16. Janet Midecha, 17. Laventer Ogutu, 18. Clementina Atieno, 19. Sheila Chagira, 20. Evelyn Odero, 21. Linda Nandwa, 22. Gentrix Mwaro, 23. Linet Moraa.

Lady Cranes: 15 Rachael Kakaire, 14. Asha Nakityo, 13. Claire Anena, 12. Brenda Kayiyi, 11. Emmanuela Oroma, 10. Harriet Kayonjo, 9. Rosenburg Kanyunyuzi, 8. Beatrice Atim, 7. Prossy Nakakande, 6. Hellen Gizamba, 5. Evelyn Aweku, 4. Phionah Nalubwama, 3. Christine Kizito, 2. Fortunate Irankunda, 1. Warren Ssefunka. Replacements: 16. Stella Kyalikunda, 17. Zurah Namtovu, 18. Irene Zigge, 19. Mary Nakanyike, 20. Charity Atimango, 21. Regina Athieno, 22. Mary Kyoita, 23. Matilda Tino