When Ian Snook named his match squad for Saturday’s Gold Cup clash away to Morocco, there were some surprises in store…familiar names in rather unfamiliar positions in addition to five uncapped players making the traveling party.
Darwin Mukidza, the Simbas talisman since his debut in 2015 has traditionally featured on the wing but starts at fly half with Biko Adema playing at full back while Philip Ikambili who has made all his appearances in the Simbas jersey as a hooker is deployed at openside. Snook took the the time to explain these changes during the team announcement in Nairobi on Wednesday morning.
“We’ve gone for experience and have seen Darwin play at fly half a few times. We like the way he controls things…he’s got a bit more control over what’s going on around him and have decided to play him there with Biko at full back…which could easily change if need be.”
“With Philip Ikambili starting at openside flank, Snook said, “ first…Elkeans Musonye is unavailable…secondly we like what Philip produces in the squad. He is also a very fit player…we need people that are going to play for 80 minutes and he seemed to be the guy that fitted. He played exceptionally well at seven in training and we’ve decided to give him a run out.”
Edmund Anya follows in the footsteps of Xavier Kipng’etich in making the step up from the Kenya U20s and starts Saturday’s encounter on the wing. Snook, commenting on his inclusion, said, “Anya is a really exciting player. He is a back three player with lots of pace and talent. We are pretty excited about what he has to offer . It is obviously a very big first game for him but we think that he can perform at this level. We see him as one of the future stars of Kenyan rugby.”
Another Kenya U20 squad member, Zedden Marrow makes the travelling party alongside clubmate Max Kang’eri. Commenting on their selections, Snook said, ” We’ve watched them in club rugby and brought them into the training squad after trials. They have been training really well and deserve the opportunity. They can certainly perform well.”