Lingering questions about Vodacom Cup

By the punter
Jan 31, 2022
  • Vincent Mose, Impala and Kenya's full back trains with the 15's team which will play in the Vodacom Cup. Photo by Shutterspeed.

There have been lingering questions about Kenya’s bold move to play in the Vodacom Cup. Some of the pertinent questions are availability of players who are a mix of working class and students.

Also whether the Kenya Cup league which will be at a critical stage would allow for the players to represent country.

A member of the technical bench in the 15’s side admitted these were valid questions. “It is tricky especially after some of the matches were postponed on January 11,” he explained. Therefore, the Kenya Cup could go beyond March 8! Where does this leave Kenya XV?

He offered that it is only through creating a massive depth for the first two games that Kenya’s participation in the Vodacom Cup could be sustainable. Which is why 40 players have been selected for training.

Obviously, the top four Kenya Cup teams which provides the bulk of the first choice players will be busy and unlikely to surrender their players in pursuit for the diadem.

Inadequate sponsorship

The second most important question is about financing the preparations and participation in Vodacom Cup. Kenya 15’s sponsors are Migaa and Tusker. The last announced figures were that Migaa had put in Sh15 million for three years and Tusker Sh25 million for five years.

This works out to Sh10 million per year from the two sponsors which is inadequate. The figures may have gone up in the last couple of months.

However way you look at it, this could be a great breakthrough for Kenya XV’s if well handled. It is a career defining moment for the players who will a chance of playing in a top flight competition and with the media coverage could open more doors for a professional career in rugby.

Weekly build up

The idea at the moment is to have a weekly build up for the team to enable the Kenya XV to grow in stature. It does not matter what the initial results will be as the goal is to prepare for the CAR Cup.

On a bigger picture, over time, the environment and approaches to game management, training, individual player attitudes will trickle down to the Kenya Cup by next season. A stronger Kenya Cup will produce stronger players for both the Bamburi Super Series and next year’s Vodacom Cup.

Eventually, Kenya can look forward to good test matches after playing in the Vodacom Cup. 

Kenya open their campaign on March 8 against Eastern Province Kings in Cape Town before meeting South Western Districts on March 18. They move to East London for a match against Border. The next three fixtures are in Cape Town and the April 26 match is against Free State in Bloemfontein. 

Kenya Vodacom Cup fixtures

March 8: Kenya vs EP Kings (Cape Town); March 15: Kenya v South Western Districts - Cape Town; March 22: Border v Kenya (East London); March 29: Kenya v Boland (Cape Town); April 5: Western Province v Kenya (Cape Town); April 12: Sharks v Kenya (Cape Town); April 26: Free State v Kenya (Bloemfontein). 

Training squad

Props: Joseph Kangethe, James Kangethe (Nondies), Curtis Lilakho, Moses Amusala (KCB), Duncan Mwangi (Impala), Hillary Omido (Western Bulls), Steve Wakaya (unattached). Hookers: Sam Warui (Nakuru), Maxwell Adaka (KCB), Edwin Aseko (Quins). Locks: Wilson K’Opondo, Tony Mutai (Quins), Oliver Mang’eni (KCB), Ronnie Mwenesi (Nondies), Emmanuel Mavala (Homeboyz). Flankers: Brian Nyikuli (Strathmore), Philip Kwame, Edwin Makori, Mike Okombe (Nakuru), David Mogere (Quins). Eighth man: Joshua Chisanga (Homeboyz), Lawrence Buyachi, Martin Owila (Nakuru). Scrum halves: Lyle Asiligwa, Edwin Achayo, Maxwell Theuri (Quins). Fly half: Ken Andola (Strathmore), Isaack Adimo, Eden Agero (Quins). Centers: Nick Baraza, Dennis Muhanji (Quins), Austin Gumu (Homeboyz), Alvin Otieno (Western Bulls). Wingers: Leon Adongo (Impala), Cyprian Kuto (Strathmore), Darwin Mukidza (KCB). Full backs: Vincent Mose (Impala), Tony Onyango (Strathmore), Jacob Ojee (KCB).