Namibia Face Kenya in Africa Gold Cup Final
Namibia and Kenya are set to face-off on Saturday in what is expected to be a mouth-watering 2018 Africa Gold Cup title-decider at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek.
The match winner will get automatic slot for the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the losers going to Marseille in France to battle with Hong Kong, Germany and Canada in the decisive tournament.
Namibia, who are reigning champions, have won this fixture by scores of 56 – 21, 46 – 13 and 45-7 in the last three years and are expected to beat the East Africans, who will be looking for their first time appearance at the global tournament.
However, Kenya are coming off a win against Tunisia whom they mauled 67-0 last weekend to narrow the gap on leaders Namibia to three points (20) and will feel that there is an opportunity to upset the odds.
Speaking to the press moments before departure from Nairobi, Kenya coach Ian Snook exuded confidence that the team will get one over Namibia and reclaim the continental title they last lifted in 2013.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Our hopes and aspirations is that we play really well and piece together 80 minutes of what has only been seen for 40 or so minutes in the other games. It has been difficult with no warm up games and going in cold for one off test matches,” [/perfectpullquote]
“The Tunisia game provided a bit of everything which the players will learn from. I’m expecting the players are ready for an 80 minute effort and are really looking forward to it.”
The Simbas will be relying on their forwards especially the trio of Dalmus Chituyi, Felix Ayange and Curtis Lilako and this is where their game plan depends on.
Namibia on their side have ball-carriers who are expected to be on top of their game to win the gain line battle and provide momentum for the team.
The last time Simba overcame Namibia was in 2014 when the Simbas picked a 29-22 victory at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi in a World Cup qualifier cum Africa Cup under the tutelage of South African Paarwater.
Majority consider them lucky to have won that game, but on careful analysis, the victory shows a canny ability to absorb pressure for long periods and then pounce when the opposition tires or makes mistakes, something that is synonymous with that team in black from New Zealand.
On the other side, the Namibians have weaknesses and limitations too going into this game. Often they lapse and drop their guard especially against a forward oriented onslaught but their superior conditioning seems to almost always bail them out in the closing minutes of the game.
Namibia, who are under coach Phil Davies, enter the match from hammering Zimbabwe 28-58 in Bulawayo having assembled their professional players, with some having featured at the 2015 World Cup qualifier.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan from September 20 to November 2 and will be played across 12 venues.