Category: News

Beldad Ogeta in full flight against the Namibians in the 2019 final of the U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi

Beldad Ogeta: U20 Barthes Trophy a stepping stone to greater things

Lots of people never forget their firsts. Their first time driving, their first time picking up a rugby ball, and certainly not their first time donning the national team jersey and going ahead to win a major tournament that had proven elusive for others in the past. This is the story of Beldad Ogeta, currently one of Kenya’s most prolific wingers.

Beldad first picked up a rugby ball at Bungoma High School, after which he joined one of the country’s top clubs, the Menengai Oilers. Back then, the Oilers were a championship team, and his raw power and directness are probably some of the qualities that turned the heads of the coaches at the Oilers.

They probably saw him as a weapon to unlock stubborn defenses. A weapon they utilized effectively even after they gained promotion to the Kenya Cup.

It, therefore, did not take very long for the then Kenya U20 management to notice him, and he was called in for trials. “I did not believe it (the callup) at first, it had always been my dream to play for Kenya at any level, and I knew this was just the beginning,” says Beldad, now an accomplished Kenya Simbas International.

He made it to the training squad, then the final squad that was to take part in the 2019 U20 Barthes Trophy tournament, and eventually, he made it to Paul Odera’s first 15 for the tournament. His tenacious power runs with the ball in hand eventually helping Kenya wrestle the championship away from the Namibians at a packed KCB Grounds. He scored a brilliant try, by the way…


But what made that team tick? “Most of us who made the team had already met in high school games, so it was easy for us to form a connection. We also bonded well given that we had a residential camp at Brookhouse International School just before the tournament.”

According to Beldad, three key things played a role in Kenya winning the coveted U20 Barthes Trophy. “As a team, we really wanted to win, and then the fans came through for us. Of course, playing at home has its advantages. The fans showed up and rallied behind us, which is something that gave us the confidence we needed for those tense moments,” adds Beldad.

“We also wanted to make history. Our coaches kept on motivating us throughout the tournament, and we knew that we could be history makers, at home, in front of one of the most passionate crowds in the world.”

The Junior World Trophy in Brazil
The winner of the U20 Barthes Trophy represents the continent in the Junior World Trophy, but as fate would have it, Beldad could not travel with the team to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as he was nursing an injury he sustained just three days before the trip.

“Despite scoring in the final here in Nairobi, I did not make the trip to Brazil due to an injury I sustained last minute while training with my club. But I was happy that my replacement for that trip was also my teammate at club level, Timothy Omela,” says Beldad.

Very few can claim to have what Beldad has. A burst of power and strength while at the same time leaving his opponents in his wake with his turn of speed. Very few can cause teams problems the way he does, steamrolling defenders at will while also possessing that extra edge when it comes to finishing. Something that has earned him the nickname Laumape after the famous New Zealand midfielder Ngani Laumape.

The injury setback did not shut doors; on the contrary, doors opened so wide that he could not believe it. But not without a lesson or two in patience. “After recovering from the injury, I got called up for a few trials with the Kenya Simbas, first in 2020 and then in 2021, but they did not all materialize due to the global pandemic that was COVID-19.” In 2022, I did not make it the first time, but when the team was heading to South Africa to play in the Currie Cup First Division, I received a call-up.”

Since then, Beldad has grown from strength to strength, even earning a call-up to the final 31-man squad that took part in the Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in Dubai last year.

The 2019 U20 Barthes Trophy Winners
The Chipu Class of 2019 with their bling!

To the Chipu class of 2023: “Anything is possible. Use the home advantage to the fullest. The fans will show up, and it will be up to you to make them proud. We are celebrating our win four years later; it is always good to be part of history. I wish them all the best,” adds Beldad.

Beldad is now a full Kenyan international, having played for the Kenya Simbas at the Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in Dubai last year. To Chipu class of 2023, Beldad did it, All of You can also do it!

– Article by James Njenga Macharia/U20 Barthes Trophy Media Team

U20 Barthes Trophy: The Hopes of a Nation

By James Njenga “Biggie”

It is the hope of every young person to one day don the national team colors and represent their nation. I know this because not so long ago, I had the same dream. A 16-year-old me always dreamt of pulling that red and green jersey on, belting out the tunes of the national anthem with such great passion, like I see them do on tv, and just enjoying my rugby on the grand stage.

To actualize it, we attended Kenya U19 trials at the KCB grounds in Ruaraka immediately after high school. Most of us did not make it but the fact that we got to be around such an environment changed our mindset.

See, there is something about training and playing with and against the best players in the country. You do not get to be in and around such players if you are not cut from the same cloth. To make it to the team you have to beat the best and that just elevates your mentality to another level.

The following year, I made the Nakuru RFC team that won the Titans Cup against KCB. To make that Nakuru team you had to be no slouch. In the pecking order, I was behind Kenya Simbas Internationals in form of Isaiah Nyariki and Giles Littlewood.

The team was also littered with great talent, the likes of Martin Owilah, Mike Okombe, Edwins Makori, etc. I can confidently say that being around the Chipu environment made me want to be the best and compete with the best.

Fast forward to 2019 and I got to attend my very first Barthes Trophy tournament at the KCB Grounds, Ruaraka. Paul Odera was five years deep into the Kenya U20 gig and even though he had a torrid time trying to upset continental giants Namibia in previous editions of the competition, 2019 was special. Something was cooking.

Upon his appointment, Odera and his technical bench launched an ambitious plan. A plan to win the elusive continental trophy that for a long time had been at the behest of the Namibians and while at it, get Kenya back to the Junior World Trophy a decade after their last involvement in the competition. By the time Kenya was hosting this tournament, Odera, and his team had mastered the murky waters of continental competitions.

Step one — Early preparation. Kenya’s achilles heel in previous competitions had been poor or late preparation. Teams were assembled late giving the team little to no time to gel. To correct this, Odera named his training squad early and even had some time to play a couple of preparation games including one against KCB, the reigning Kenya Cup champions then.

The composition of the team was also one of the things that Odera paid special attention to. In order to win, Odera went for pedigree. Players who had been tested and proven to be competitors at the highest levels.

They selected a team that was hungry to win, hungry to defy the odds and prove themselves in front of the home crowd. A team that had experience playing in the Kenya Cup as well as other top competitions in the world.

Most of these players have gone ahead to play for the senior side, the Kenya Simbas. The likes of Samuel Asati, Beldad Ogeta, Dominic Coulson, Andrew Siminyu, Emmanuel Silungi, Geoffrey Okwatch, Andrew Matoka Matoka, Samuel Were, etc. have gone ahead to become household names.

Not that Odera and his boys had it any easier in their triumph that year even though the competition offered by Tunisia in their opening fixture was a little bit disappointing. Chipu thrashed the North Africans 73–0 to book a date with Namibia in the final. On their part, Namibia had to get past Senegal, a task they were well prepared for as they dispatched the West Africans 45–12.

A few players were not available for Kenya in the first game due to the usual issues. One of them was Michele Brighetti. A dynamic player that could slot in anywhere across the backs. We all (rightly so) praise Matoka Matoka for his heroics with that final penalty under pressure, but I also believe Brighetti deserves his flowers too. He brought stability to a back line that was a little shaky even in the complete mauling of Tunisia.

Tries by Brian Amaitsa, Beldad Ogeta, and Bonface Ochieng’ coupled with two penalties by Matoka Matoka were enough, just barely, to see Kenya win the elusive continental title and go ahead to represent Kenya at the Junior World Trophy. Nothing can adequately describe the mood at the Den after Precious Pazani blew the final whistle. Nothing!

The importance of that win for Kenya cannot be overstated. The team went ahead to give a good account of themselves at the Junior World Trophy in Brazil just barely losing 48–34 to highly fancied Japan. (Kenya’s Tries: Geofrey Okwach 2, Ian Masheti, Ibrahiim Ayoo, and Timothy Omela; Conversions: Dominic Coulson 3; Penalty: Dominic Coulson.)

Last year, Kenya Simbas had a Rugby World Cup qualifying campaign, first through the African qualifiers and then through the repechage tournament. Most of those players selected had passed through the Barthes Trophy. In fact, seven out of the 31 players named for the Rugby World Cup repechage tournament were members of the 2019 team. These are Andrew Peter Siminyu, Samuel Asati, Timothy Omela, John Okoth, Geoffrey Okwach, Beldad Ogeta, and Ian Masheti.

It is 2023 and Kenya will be hosting the tournament, again. We are about to witness another emergence of close to 30 young and talented players. When utilized fully, there is no limit as to where these kids we get from the tournament can take us. Their potential is limitless. How immaculate could it be if the team that will take us to Australia 2027 would be made up of a bulk of players that have taken part in this tournament?

This is a tournament that represents hope. Hope for a nation that eats, sleeps, and bleeds rugby.

James Njenga “Biggier” is a former Nakuru RFC forward

Champions Zimbabwe name provisional squad for Barthes defense

Defending champions Zimbabwe have named a 36 man provisional squad for their title defense at this year’s Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi from 22-30 April 2023.

The squad has eight returning players from last year’s successful team namely Bryan Chiang, Tanaka Gondomukandapi, Takunda Mudzingwa,Panashe Zuze Brendan Marume, Tanaka Chinyaga, Alex Nyamunda and Dion Khumalo.

The final squad of 28 will be named closer to the tournament.

Zimbabwe won last year’s title with a 19-14 victory over Namibia in an exciting final at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.

Zimbabwe Provisional Squad: Happias Zhou, Jerry Zisengwe, Gealan Jaricja, Bryan Chiang, Tawananyasha Bwanya, Leo Mutendi, Mazuva Gutu, Tadiwa Chinwada, Nqobile Manyara, Stanley Muraganwa, Tanaka Gondomukandapi, Huntley Masterson, Allan Mawunga, Vincent Chimwendo, Tanaka Ndoro, Halgar Muchenje, Shingirai Manyara, Tadiwanashe Marumisa, Takunda Mudzingwa, Kelvin Kaseke, Godfrey Zvinavashe, Panashe Zuze, Brendan Marume, Tanaka Chinyaga, Edward Sigauke, Kelton Kaseke, Shadreck Mandaza, Alex Nyamunda, Simbarashe Kanyangarara, Brendan Johnson, Kudakwashe Nyamushaya, Benoni Nhekairo, Dion Khumalo, Taonaishe Mapani, Panashe Mugorogodi, Tadiwanashe Unganani


Namibia reveal Barthes Trophy squad

Namibia have declared their squad to the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy taking place in Nairobi from 22-30 April 2023.

The former champions have two returning players from last season’s side that lost to Zimbabwe in the final as Ray –Eez Ferris and Owen Hawanga make the travelling party.

Namibia will be out to reclaim the title that they lost to Kenya in 2019 in Nairobi.

Namibia U20 Barthes Trophy Squad: Fillipus Tshuuya, Johan Brockman, Herman Coetzee, Lodewickus Karsten, Dandre Schreuder, Edward Drotsky, Hendrik de Beer, Theo Lintvelt, Nguvitja Tjaronda, Matthew Quinn, Michael Atkinson, Ray-Eez Ferris, Joe Corne Losper, Ferion Beukes, Salomo Martiz, Kisting Minyoi, Enrique Husselman, Dillion Kahmann, Armand Kotze, Ethan Koopman, Louis Steenkamp, Natie Janse van Rensburg, Owen Hawanga, Keanan Januarie, William Klazen, Manfred Garoeb, Nicolas Tromp, Divan Steyn  NON TRAVELLING RESERVES: Johaness Husselman, Richter Steenkamp, Jayden Van Zyl, Otja Auala, Johandre Dege, Breyton Beukes, Lucihano Gaingob, Damian Van Den Ross, Ethan Williams, Dhaamin Bassardien

Kenya continue with Barthes preps

A 39 man Kenya U20 squad has been in non-residential training for the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy set for 22-30 April 2023 in Nairobi.

The squad, under the tutelage of Curtis Olago has seven returning players from the side that finished third in last year’s tournament in Nairobi including David Mwangi, Mathias Osimbo, Felix Masega Chacha, Stanslous Shikoli, Laban Kipsang, George Otieno and Makaya Brian.  Another two players, Zephenes Obwanga and Iddo Kuta were part of the 2022 training squad.

Team Manager Peter Mutai said, “Training has been going on well. We are however monitoring the progress of Mathias Osimbo who is carrying an injury sustained during his side’s Kenya Cup fixture a few weeks ago. We will make a decision in the coming days.”

The final squad will be announced closer to the tournament.

Chipu Training Squad:

FORWARDS: Raymond Chacha (Strathmore Leos), Dennis Kisingu (Strathmore Leos), Makaya Brian (Mean Machine), Collins Ndambo (Daystar Falcons), George Otieno (Shamas), Mike Oduor (Daystar Falcons),Mark Lubira (USIU Martials), Jeremy Odhiambo (Catholic Monks), Gaylord Mgasi (Daystar Falcons), Ogutu Wycliffe (Daystar Falcons), Michael Jayson (Impala Saracens), John Asega (South Coast Pirates), Ahona Victor (Blak Blad), Andy Cole Omolo (Masinde Muliro), Eugene Etale (Unattached), Eugene Obat (Strathmore Leos), Nathan Tsindoli (Daystar Falcons), Laban Kipsang (Kenya Harlequin), Edmond Omondi ( Masinde Muliro), Jackton Omondi (Kabras Sugar), James Asanga (Menengai Oilers), Iddo Kuta (Kenya Harlequin), Stanslaus Shikoli (Strathmore Leos), Vincent Omondi (Kenya Harlequin), William Otondi (Binghamton University, USA)

BACKS: Patrick Wainaina (Kenya Harlequin), Zephenes Obwanga (Catholic Monks), David Nyanginge (Northern Suburbs),Brian Mwenda (Strathmore Leos),  Collins Munyasa (Impala Saracens), Eddy Wambugu (Daystar Falcons), Mike Wamalwa (Catholic Monks), Felix Masega Chacha (Mwamba), Mathias Osimbo (Kabras Sugar), David Mwangi (Kenya Harlequin), Victor Mola (Strathmore Leos), Kerry Otieno (Mwamba), Raphael Wanga (Zetech Oaks), George Omondi (Catholic Monks)

Four changes for Kenya ahead of clash with Madagascar

Barthes action returns to Nairobi

The Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy returns to Nairobi for a fourth time this April after previous editions in 2019,2021 & 2022.

The tournament, which serves as the Africa U20 Championship will be played from 22nd to 30th April at the Nyayo National Stadium and brings together eight of Africa’s leading U20 sides battling it out for the overall title and a ticket to this year’s World Rugby Junior Trophy which also takes place in Nairobi in July this year.

Leading the charge in Nairobi are defending champions Zimbabwe, last year’s beaten finalists Namibia, hosts Kenya and Madagascar.

Other teams that will be in Nairobi are Uganda, Zambia, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast.

The tournament will be played on a knockout basis with over three match days

Quartefinals 22nd April

Semifinals 26th April

Finals 30th April

*Match schedules and ticketing information will be released in subsequent communications.

Zimbabwe survive late scare to lift Barthes Trophy

Zimbabwe are the 2022 Barthes Trophy champions following a 19-14 win over favourites Namibia at the Nyayo National Stadium. 

The close contest was too close to call but the South African neighbours produced a memorable game that will leave long in the memory of rugby lovers across the continent.

Namibia who beat Kenya in the semis began the match on a bright note, earning an early penalty that was converted by Oela Blaauw for a 3-0 lead. 

Zimbabwe responded with their own penalty converted by Brendan Marume to level matters and later on earned a first try of the game to stretch their lead to 8-3. Liberty Sibanda managed to get some space in the Namibia defense and his trickery was enough to hand Zimbabwe their first try of the game

An infringement by Zimbabwe allowed Namibia to score yet another penalty through Geraldo Beukes but Takudzwa Musingwini scored yet another try for Zimbabwe to take a 11-6 halftime lead.

Another penalty kick in the second half by Namibia reduced the arrears to two points with Geraldo Beukes scoring another penalty for Namibia. A brilliant interchange down the left flank released Panashe Zuze who scored Zimbabwe’s second try which proved too vital in the game. 

With the scores at 16-14 following Bernd Baddies try for Namibia, the game witnessed a nervy end but a Musingwini penalty for Zimbabwe eased pressure on the Zimbabweans. A late surge by Namibia was well countered by a disciplined defensive play by Zimbabwe and when the final whistle  blew, the boys in white and green jumped in jubilation with light showers savoring the occasion.

Chipu smash Madagascar to claim bronze

The Kenya national U20 rugby 15s side, Kenya Chipu finished third in the 2022 Barthes Cup after thrashing Madagascar 49-15 in the bronze medal match played under light showers at the Nyayo National stadium, Nairobi.

Having surrendered their title defence in the defeat to Namibia, Chipu came into the Sunday afternoon match focused on the job and got matters underway as soon as the clock ticked for kick off.

Chipu got over the whitewash for the first time in the third minute when John Baraka got clear for the first try of the day. A successful conversion took the scores to 7-0. A second try and conversion extended Kenya’s lead to 14-0. The islanders got their first points of the day via a penalty but that was quickly replied by Tony Oketch’s penalty which extended Chipu’s lead to 17-3 another try and penalty further took matters out of Madagascar’s hands and when David Mwangi landed another try for the homeboys, it was almost game over. Madagascar got their first try of the game just before the breather and when the two sides raced to the dug out, it was 30-10 in favour of Curtis Olago’s Chipu.

Madagascar got matters underway in the second half, earning a try that would see them half the scores to 30-15. A tighter Kenyan defence plus a sleek forward ensured that Kenya won brone and at least a podium finish in this year;s edition.

Tunisia edge Uganda to seal 5th spot as Zambia clinch 7th ahead of Ivory Coast

The Tunisia U20 national rugby 15s side finished the 2022 edition of the continental U20 Barthes Trophy in fifth place after defeating Uganda 24-11 in the 5/6th place final staged at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday 17 April.

In a low scoring affair in the first half, the Tunisians took a 7-3 lead going into the break after Mohammed Riahi’s opening try was successfully converted by Ilyes Ayari.

Uganda, who dominated a better part of the game, were let down by poor handling skills in the red zone as they camped around the Tunisia 22 but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.

Skipper Daniel Okello finally put them on the board before the break with a penalty goal.

Okello would make it a one point game at the start of the second half as he drilled in a second penalty to make it 7-6 but the Tunisians pulled clear by scoring three consecutive tries to take their scores to 24-6 but Kevin Ampaire managed to score Uganda’s only try that got the game to a respectable 24-11 fulltime score, leaving Uganda to settle for 6th place behind Tunisia.

In the 7/8th playoff, Zambia got their first win of the tournament as they defeated Cote D’Ivoire 22-8 to finish in 7th position ahead of their opponents who finished bottom of the pile in this year’s tourney.

Both teams came into their final clash without a victory in the tournament after Cote d’Ivoire lost to Namibia and Uganda while Zambia lost against Madagascar and Tunisia with both sides looking for positives to bring their campaigns to an end.

Zambia ended up plundering their maiden win as they came from behind to stage the victory over the Ivorians who finished without a win in their three matches.

Kenya Chipu to fight for bronze against Madagascar after Namibia loss

The national U20 rugby 15s side, Kenya Chipu, will battle for a third place finish on the podium this Sunday when they face the Junior Makis from Madagascar in the 3/4th place playoff final set to be staged at the Nyayo National Stadium this weekend as the 2022 edition of the continental U20 Barthes Trophy comes to an end.

This year, hosts Chipu, who were the back to back champions of the junior championship, will not be able to complete a consecutive treble and defend their title as they were knocked out in the semifinal stage 5-16 by tournament favourites Namibia who advanced to the final in their stead.

Following the loss, the Curtis Olago coached side were forced to drop to the 3/4th playoff where they face Madagascar in a repeat clash of the 2021 main cup final where Kenya won 21-20 in a very tough and epic contest.

While Kenya and Madagascar will fight for the bronze, Namibia will be seeking to ascend to the top of the 8 team tournament but have a very able Zimbabwe side also waiting in store to try and stop them.

The physical Zimbabweans edged Madagascar to book the rivalry between the two nations.

Apart from the two matches, Cote D’Ivoire will open the final match day proceedings against Zambia in the 7/8th playoff with both sides failing to record any wins so far in their opening two games.

Neigbhours Uganda will then face Tunisia in the 5/6th place playoff in the second match.

Sunday 17 April 2022 Schedule.

Cote D’Ivoire vs Zambia – 0900EAT

Uganda vs Tunisia – 1130 EAT

Kenya vs Madagascar – 1400EAT

Namibia vs Zimbabwe -1630EAT