THE NATIONAL rugby side, Silverbacks, depart for Kenya in high spirits for the Safaricom Sevens slated to run from September 20 to 22 at Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi.
Rwanda Rugby Federation vice chairman Alex Araire told Times Sport yesterday that the team received last-minute invitation and could not afford to turn down the opportunity to compete in the prestigious annual tournament.
“Initially, organisers had invited the national U-19 team but, just recently, we also got an invite for the senior team,” he added.
He said the junior team left on Tuesday while their senior compatriots will be leaving today. “Our objective is to give as much exposure as possible to our players at both junior and senior levels.”
Senior team’s flying winger Vincent Kamali sounded positive but cited inadequate preparation which he said could jeopardise their chances.
He said, “Such competitions are good because they expose us to a high level competition against elite sides.”
“Nonetheless, we are ready to make improvement from our last year’s performance though it will be difficult since we have not had ample preparations,” added Kamali, one of the team’s most experienced players.
Both Silverbacks and the Under-19 team will be managed by assistant coach Jean Baptista Itanzi in the absence of head coach, Fijian Simeli Mucevacaka, who won’t travel to Nairobi because his passport was sent to Fiji for renewal, according to Araire.
This will be the fourth straight year Silverbacks will be making their appearance in the Safaricom Sevens. Last year, they were beaten to the Bowl title by Spain.
The Rwandan sides will be joining a host of other participating teams, including Australia Renegades, England Royals, Belgium, Grenoble from France, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa’s Western Province, and Ponsonby from New Zealand and four Kenyan teams.
Vincent Kamali (flying winger/full back), Benjamin Makombe (Prop), Lucien Bikamba (Fly half), Ivan Makmot (scrumhalf/flyhalf), Koko Marcel Cambara (centre), Mana Wacaliwa (Fly half), Didier Kamanzi (prop), Barnabe Jean Luc (wing), Patrick Kazungu (wing/centre),Julius Muba (utility), Emmanuel Mugisha (lock/prop), Vibo Mugabo (scrum half) and Olivier Uwamahoro (lock/prop).