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Kenya pursues New Zealand sevens coach Tietjens

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s hopes of landing former New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens may not materialize after he ruled out coming to Nairobi for talks on Saturday.

Richard Omwela, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chairman had hinted of landing high priced coach coming Saturday, but media reports from Auckland have quashed any hopes the 60-year-old will be taking the flight to Nairobi to put pen to paper on Saturday as had been agreed.

“He is our priority. We made contacts with him (Tietjens) and he said he is available. We would be glad to have him. But he also said he is not ready for full time job in his retirement,” Omwela said Wednesday in Nairobi.

Benjamin Ayimba, who has had two stints as head coach of the Kenya Sevens team and also captained the side during his playing days, will take charge when they play in the Africa Cup in Nairobi next week.

But he too has put in his papers hoping to retain the job he took over a year ago from South African Paul Treu.

Tietjens, who led the All Blacks at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, said he had talks with KRU, but there was no definite agreement, which made him rule out coming in the country to sign a contract soon.

There are several coaches, who are keen to take up the challenge of guiding Kenya ahead of the World Series starting in October.

Tietjens ended his 22-year reign at the helm of New Zealand after the failed Rio Olympics campaign. Omwela said even though they are yet to get into details with Tietjens.

Tietjens will be Kenya’s third foreign coach in the last four years after Mike Friday (England), who handled the team for the 2012 and 2013 season and South African Paul Treu, who was in charge in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Former Fiji coach Ben Ryan is also a possible candidate. Ryan led Fiji to gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

Kenya advertised the new job for a head coach to take over from Benjamin Ayimba two weeks ago. Ayimba will be in charge of the Kenya team during the Safaricom Sevens.

Kenya are in Pool A with Nigeria and Senegal. Zimbabwe, last year’s losing finalists, are in Pool B with Uganda and Mauritius. Morocco headline Pool C where they are grouped with Zambia and Madagascar. Tunisia are in Pool D alongside Namibia and Botswana.



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