A first men’s senior international between the nations and an inaugural three-match series of women’s fixtures will be played between Kenya and Uganda, all for world ranking points.
The clashes will kick off with a double header on Saturday 16 December in Kisumu, Kenya with men’s and women’s fixtures, and will be followed by second and third women’s encounters, both to be held at the Elite Stadium Entebbe, Uganda on 20 and 23 December.
Kenya RLF chair, Richard Nyakwaka, commented: “This is a very exciting time in the federation’s journey, and we are delighted to share it with our neighbours Uganda who will also be marking an important milestone in theirs. We see this as the beginning of a long and successful relationship where we will be having annual competitions and growing together for the benefit of the global sport of rugby league.”
Kenya men’s head coach and former professional, Edward Rombo, noted: “We are happy to play against our neighbours and regional sporting rivals and we hope this will be a good beginning to entrench the roots of rugby league in East Africa and Africa in general,” while Kenya women’s head coach, Antonio Lombardo, added: “It is an honour to be part of this historic moment not only here in Africa but also globally in ushering women’s international rugby league. The women’s game continues to grow in leaps and bounds.”
Uganda RL director, Fortunate Irankunda, said : “We are so honoured to embrace our next steps after having a successful domestic championship that ran from April to June this year. Our young talented women and men are in preparation to set standards as they look forward to having their first international matches with Kenya this year, whose objective is to advance them from observer status to affiliate members. Great thanks are due to York RFL for their support and believing that Uganda has got talent for rugby league, and we thank our neighbours for accepting to write history with us.
York Valkyrie head coach Lindsay Anfield, who headed up a trip to Uganda earlier this year, commented: “I’m really excited to see these fixtures arranged and hugely looking forward to watching the African talent on show. I am extremely proud of Fortunate and her team and to see them progress. She has already started the hard work and training with her players, which will be pivotal to their on field success in December.”