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Senegal made it two wins out of two to finish top of Pool B with a 20-5 victory over Zambia in the ongoing Rugby Africa Cup played at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Wednesday 7 July 2021.
The result saw Senegal qualify for the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup which will also act as the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying competition for Africa.
The game started on a frantic note, each team probing furiously, and it was Zambia who were rewarded first for their efforts with a try after Melvin Banda’s elusive running found big Philip Kamanga who barged over for the game’s opening try.
Fullback Laston Mukosa missed the ensuing conversion. Those were however as many points Zambia could manage the entire game as Senegal thwarted every attack they mounted.
Senegal’s Ndiaye Mamadou would then put on a dominant performance, shaking off a nervy start that saw him miss an early penalty in front of the posts to score 15 of Senegal’s 20 points. Ndiaye slotted in two penalties, two conversions, and a try. Ndiaye would also play a part in Sakho Oumsane’s try.
Speaking after the game, Senegal’s captain Samba Mohamed showered a lot of praise on his charges. “It was tough for us especially due to the little time we had to recover but we went out there and had more of the ball than Zambia and we are happy for the win.”
“We knew playing Zambia was going to be difficult especially with the recovery time we had. But we knew what was important was winning the group and we fought hard for that,” says Samba.
On his part, losing captain Ali Bhika lauded his team’s strong showing in the second half. “Credit to Senegal, they played well in this game but in the second half we came out a bit stronger, we managed to hold them, and they did not score any points,” says Bhika.
“We would like to build on that momentum, speed it a little bit and hopefully it can work against Kenya,” adds Bhika.
Zambia stand-in coach Mathews Kabeya observed that they lost the game in the first half but was also pleased with the strong second-half performance his side displayed. “Senegal won the game in the first half, credit to them, but in the second half we picked up the momentum.”
Zambia has a chance to redeem themselves when they take on Kenya Simbas in the last match of the Rugby Africa Cup on Sunday 11 July at the Nyayo National Stadium. Kabeya is confident that they will match Kenya in every aspect.
“It is a do or die match against Kenya, we have played them very many times so I believe we will be able to match them at the end of the day,” concluded Kabeya.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).
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