Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) fullback Isaac Njoroge will miss Saturday's Victoria Cup duel between Kenya Simbas and Zimbabwe at Hartfield Stadium, Bulawayo.
Head coach Paul Odera disclosed on Wednesday that Njoroge had failed the test due to a head injury sustained last weekend against Zambia at the Diggers Rugby Club, Kitwe.
Njoroge replaced Impala Saracens' Anthony Odhiambo in the match where Kenya triumphed 43-23.
Speaking from Bulawayo, Odera - who is set to name his squad that will face Zimbabwe on Thursday - said he still has a strong bench to fill in Njoroge’s position with the possibility of having Odhiambo play the full match.
“Zimbabwe will be the toughest game of the Victoria Cup but the players are up for the battle,” said Odera, who took the players through two conditioning sessions on Wednesday morning before tactical sessions in the evening. “The weather is pretty chilly in the morning and evening but the boys are recovering well.”
The Simbas will be roaring into Bulawayo with two wins and a loss, having gone down 16-13 to Uganda Cranes in Nairobi before turning on the tables to win 15-5 in Kampala. They would then beat Zambia 63-23 in Kitwe.
The Simbas and Cranes match doubled up for Elgon Cup where Kenya retained the title on better aggregate. Last Saturday, Uganda lost to Zimbabwe Sables 31-26 in Kampala. The Sables were coming off the back of a convincing 39-10 victory over Zambia.
Uganda are up against Zambia in Kampala on August 10 while Kenya will host Zambia and Zimbabwe in return leg matches on August 24 and September 21 respectively.
Kenya will be facing Zimbabwe for the first time since June 30 last year during the Africa Gold Cup in Nairobi where the hosts won 45-36.
The championship was also used as the Africa qualifying round for the 2019 World Cup. Kenya finished second behind winners Namibia, who claimed the second Africa slot to the World Cup held in Japan.
Zimbabwe will be seeking their first win against Kenya since the 2015 Africa Gold Cup when they won 28-20 at Prince Edward School’s Jubilee Field in Harare.
Zimbabwe head coach Brendon Dawson has made several changes, resting Shane Makombe, Royal Mwale and Moses Gunda, who all featured against Uganda.
Dawson has handed seven new players in his squad of 27 a start. Hilton Mudariki will captain the side.