NAIROBI, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Uganda have opted to revive the regional women's 15s rugby Elgon Cup tournament to provide better exposure and development for the sport.
Only the men's team has been competing in the Elgon Cup tournament, but the two rugby unions will for the first time incorporate their female teams, with the aim to offer a platform to develop their games ahead of the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.
The Kenyan team the Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo says his team is ready to take on their rivals the Ugandan Lady Cranes.
This year's Elgon Cup will be played on a home and away basis. Kisumu City will host the first round on Saturday.
"We are confident with the capacity of the squad selected to represent Kenya. Uganda has heavy forwards and they will be out to display their defensive play. The Lionesses however are well prepared for this encounter," Oloo said on Wednesday in Nairobi.
The Kenyan women's rugby team has not been in action in the 15's version since 2015 when they clinched the Elgon Cup the title.
"Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Cup later this year during the Africa Women's qualifiers in South Africa. I have a very hard working technical team that has ensured we have smooth training sessions daily. The players have also been very hardworking, they have shown their determination and yearning to don the National jersey and represent their country at the Elgon Cup and beyond," said Oloo.
The president of the Uganda Rugby Union, Godwin Kayangwe has expressed his gratitude for the revival of the women's 15s games.
"I must thank the countries for their hard work to revive the tournament and the support the team has received from sponsors," said Kayangwe.
Africa World Cup qualifiers in Johannesburg will see four teams competing to win their place to play in New Zealand including hosts South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar.
Only the winner will secure the ticket while the second ranked team will have a chance through the repechage tournament via a play-off with South America second-placed team.
Africa lags behind other parts of the world in terms of women's rugby. It has sent no representative to previous Women's Rugby 15s World Cup.