Mwamba’s Brian Mutugi is set for his second appearance in Shujaa colors after being named in the 12 man squad for the opening round of the World Rugby HSBC Challenger 2024 set for 12-14 January in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mutugi, who debuted during the Safari 7s, is the only change from the side that secured victory and Paris 2024 Olympic qualification with a 17-12 cup final win over South Africa in the Rugby Africa Men’s 7s last September in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Vincent Onyala and Anthony Omondi co-captain the side who will play out of Pool C.

The team starts with a clash against Mexico at 13:14 EAT on Friday, January 12, 2024 before taking on East African rivals Uganda at 17:58 EAT. They will conclude their Pool C campaign against Germany at 12:59 EAT on Saturday, January 13, 2024.

Commenting on the side’s preparations, Head Coach Kevin Wambua told KRU Media, “Our training sessions leading up to the Christmas break were highly productive, emphasizing skill enhancement and the development of effective attack and defense strategies. Despite a setback in early December when we were unable to participate in the Dubai event, we utilized internal games to refine our performance based on the valuable insights gained from the Safari 7s evaluation.

The competitive atmosphere within the squad has proven to be both robust and constructive, pushing each team member to bring their best to the forefront and contributing to an overall improvement in team dynamics. The recent three-day camp at Turi was instrumental in further elevating our preparedness. The choice of Turi was strategic, taking advantage of the high-altitude weather to better acclimate ourselves for the upcoming tournament in Dubai.

As we approach the competition, our focus is on taking each game as it comes, with the ultimate goal of securing a podium position. Given that the Challenger series consists of four legs, a strong start in the first leg is pivotal. This not only builds confidence within the team but also alleviates pressure for subsequent tournaments. Our target is clear – to establish ourselves early on and maintain a competitive edge throughout the series,” he concluded.

Shujaa squad to Dubai

Vincent Onyala (KCB, Co-Captain), Tony Omondi (Mwamba, Co-Captain), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar),Kevin Wekesa (Kabras Sugar), John Okoth (Menengai Oilers), Samuel Asati (KCB), Nygel Amaitsa (Strathmore Leos), Festus Shiasi (KCB), William Mwanji (Kabras Sugar), George Ooro (Strathmore Leos), Patrick Odongo (Daystar Falcons), Brian Mutugi (Mwamba) MANAGEMENT: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Louis Kisia (Assistant Coach), Andrew Amonde (Assistant Coach), Lamech Francis Bogonko (Physio), Steve Sewe (Team Manager)

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