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Kenya women’s rugby sevens team coach Kevin Wambua has made two changes to the squad that competed in last year’s World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong.

Janet Owino makes a comeback to the Lionesses squad one year after suffering an ankle injury, along with debutant Vivian Akumu.

“I’m very happy to be back on national duty with my teammates. They have been very supportive throughout the last 12 months and this has played a role in my recovery. I am also very grateful for my management team who stood by me throughout my rehab period, as well as Lamech Bogonko who played an integral part,” Owino said.

Kenya lost to China in last year’s qualifiers. However, with the return of Owino and the addition of Akumu in what will be her first tournament outside Kenya, Wambua is optimistic that Kenya will negotiate through the tricky qualifiers to gain core status in the lucrative sevens competition.

Kenya are in Pool B along with Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, China and Uganda.

“Being pooled with the hosts, our neighbors Uganda and Papua New Guinea means we have to be on top form from the start throughout all our pool games,” Wambua said on Thursday in Nairobi.

“It’s a challenge that both the team and I are looking forward to. We also know that if we want to qualify we have to beat all the other 11 teams and that’s what we have to focus on. We will take each game at a time in the process,” he added.

Wambua has retained captain Philadelphia Olando, Sheila Chajira, Cynthia Camilla, Sinaida Aura, Diana Awino, Janet Okello, Grace Adhiambo, Christabel Lindo and Stella Wafula. Lindo, Awino and Wafula made their debut in Dubai last year.

The coach expressed optimism with his selection and said he was looking forward to a better performance in Hong Kong.

“It’s all about building consistency and a good team which is no easy task. We have a few players who made their debut in Dubai and hopefully they will continue their trajectory and do well in Hong Kong.”

“The team is also very well-balanced looking at the experience of players like Chajira, Olando, Aura, Akello and Camila who I am sure will be up to the task at hand,” the coach said. Enditem

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