Kenya Simbas will renew their rivalry with Uganda in one of the quarter-final matches of the 2022 Africa Cup, which also acts as the third and final round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Africa qualifiers.
The quarter-final pairings fell in place after Uganda lost 22-16 at the hands of Algeria in Kampala in Pool “C” and Zimbabwe destroyed Burkina Faso 101-3 on Sunday.
Perennial Africa champions Namibia will have an easy quarter-final date with Burkina Faso in Pool “D”, while Zimbabwe will face Ivory Coast as Senegal clash with Algeria next year.
The winner of the eight-team knockout competition will advance to the 2023 World Cup in France as Africa’s first team. Runners-up will attempt to seal their place in the final qualification tournament.
Simbas head coach Paul Odera told Nation Sport that the Kenyan side has to train consistently for 11 months to have a good chance of reaching the World Cup.
“We meet Uganda in the quarter-final and there is no second chance. It will be a knockout competition, so there has to be a winner. Kenya vs Uganda is always a difficult game. Our preparations depend on a host of factors, including funds, the league, the clubs, and the direction the Kenya Rugby Union wants us to take. These will determine our plans for the 2023 World Cup qualification.
“We would like to start training after this year’s league ends in August. We have to train consistently, even if it is once a week so that we can beat Uganda who always have self-belief. We will also need to play three or four matches that are harder than Uganda before we meet them,” said Odera.
A win for both Kenya and Senegal over Uganda and Algeria will see Simbas take on the West Africans who triumphed 20-19 in their Pool “B” clash on July 3 in Nairobi.
The Senegalese won the pool after mauling Zambia 20-5 in their second match. Simbas joined Senegal in the third round from the group after demolishing Zambia 45-8 on July 11.
“If Kenya and Senegal win their quarter-final matches, then we will meet in the semi-final. That will be good for us because we have played them and the boys would want to take a crack at redeeming themselves,” he noted.
“There are only three matches to reach the World Cup and if we play each one of them like a final, we will qualify,” Odera explained.