NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s rugby head coach Innocent Simiyu on
Monday warned his team not to underrate any rival as they launch
their campaign to reclaim the Africa Cup Sevens title from
It will be the last
final competition that Simiyu will be coaching Kenya as his
contract expires on Oct. 31 and he is not among the 12
candidates, seven of whom are foreigners, who have applied for
remained enthusiastic about his side’s prospects for the Africa
Cup Sevens, which will be held on Oct. 13-14 in Tunisia.
Simiyu singled out
defending champions Uganda as the team to watch out.
“They are always
good. They have everything to lose as the reigning Africa
champions. However, Zimbabwe will be the surprise dark horses of
the tournament eyeing to prove a point over the stakes of the
sport in their nation.
“Zimbabwe have been
playing good rugby as well as Zambia, who enjoy a good
experience they gained from playing at the Commonwealth Games,”
said Simiyu in Nairobi.
Kenya is using the
tournament as the first gauge ahead of the World Series, which
does not start until Dec. 1 in Dubai.
The team will also
have second shot to review their preparedness when they take on
other eight foreign teams at the Safaricom Sevens tourney in
Nairobi next month.
Kenya will however,
take each team serious and hope the crop of young players who
have been summoned for the assignment will rise to the occasion
and fight to make the final team for the World Series.
Kenya last won the
Africa Cup Sevens in 2016 and Uganda won the title in Kampala
last year when they hosted the event, which was used as a
qualifier for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia.
However, Kenya gave
the tourney a bye because it had already secured qualification
as one of the ranked teams from World Series for the
Kenya has been
paired with Botswana and Morocco in Pool A for the Africa Cup
“We have played
these teams in the Safaricom Sevens, but we have players who are
debuting at this stage and it will be a big learning step for
them. The fight is on,” said Simiyu.
Some of the players
out to impress the coach include Daniel Taabu, Mark Wandetto,
Johnstone Olindi, Timothy Mmasi and Eliakim Kichoi. The team
departs for Tunisia on Oct. 11.