KRU keen to start women's league

By francis marangu
Mar 25, 2021
  • Mary Musieka is the only change in the Kenya Lionesses team to Hong Kong Sevens. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kevin Wambua, the national women's seven-a-side coach rooted for a local league to enhance Kenya's chances of being included in the IRB Women's Sevens Series. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Camilyne Awuor is Kenya Lionesses vice captain which is in Hong Kong. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

The Kenya Rugby Union is keen to start a women's rugby league so as to push for Kenya's inclusion in the newly introduced International Rugby Board Women Sevens Series.

Kenya is hoping to be included in the 2015 season calendar. With participating countries required to have a professional league, KRU is not taking chances.

Mwamba RFC supplies the bulk of the national team but the union has initiated talks with other local clubs. “The lack of a league definitely affects us because we could have been far from this. Luckily, the union has started talks with clubs and they are at an advanced stage,” says Kenya Lionesses head coach Kevin Wambua.

Previously, there have been attempts to have women rugby teams at Kenya Harlequin FC, Impala and Kenya Commercial Bank. There was even talk of tapping the talent from the universities. But just like in soccer, the idea has not taken root.

Wambua explains that the idea to have the league running has been mooted severally and chances of the dream coming to fruition are high. “We have players who come from Thika Road who can form a club under KCB. Those who come from upper Nairobi can play under Impala and Quins so that cannot be a challenge,” he said.

“Even if we have four teams, it is good as a start then we can bring on board the likes of Western Bulls.”

Performance holds key

The women's seven-a-side rugby team landed in Hong Kong for a debut tour and their performance will hold key to Kenya's invitation to one of the IRB Women's tournaments. Currently, there are five legs in Dubai, USA, Brazil, Hong Kong and Netherlands with twelve teams taking part.

Eight of the participants are core teams that reached the 2013 world cup quarterfinals and Kenya will be watching keenly the remaining legs.

Wambua believes that his girls have what it takes to compete at that level. “We have previously played in two invitational legs both in Dubai reaching one final and one semifinal. The girls have a feel of international standards and know what to expect.” 

In Hong Kong, Kenya will play against China, France and Ireland a challenge that he relishes. “Both teams have good exposure and its a challenge for the girls. We target a semifinal qualification which will only come through winning both matches.”

Musieka only change

Mary Musieka is the only change to the travelling team replacing Mary Otieno who is a non-traveling reserve. “We want continuity in this team which is why we have made only one change. The future for the team is bright since we have three players who just completed their high school while one is in her final year.”

During the nine weeks of training, the team concentrated on strength and conditioning as well as polishing on their attack, defence and set pieces which were not up to scratch in Dubai.

“The game is now fast and physical. We took most of our time handling conditioning because we must match the levels of our opponents,” Wambua noted.

Kenya Lioness Squad in Hong Kong: Doreen Remuor (Captain), Camilyne Awuor (Vice Captain), Catherine Abila, Celestine Masinde, Emily Woods, Irene Otieno, Janet Owino, Janet Okello, Mary Musieka, Philadelphia Olando, Rachel Adhiambo, Stacy Awuor; Officials: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Michael Shamiah (Assistant Coach), Doris Mwanzia (Team Manager), Ben Mahinda (Physiotherapist)