NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya Sevens rugby head coach Innocent Simiyu
says Morocco and Botswana will provide strong challenge to gauge
Kenya’s preparedness ahead of the World Series.
contract expires at the end of next month, will be in charge of
the team as they head to Monastir city in Tunisia for the
championship, the sixth in a series that began in 2013.
space is stiff and we are working hard to get the best players
to represent the country. Several young players have emerged
from the local series and will be critical to carrying the flag
in the Africa Men’s Sevens and the World Series,” said Simiyu on
Friday in Nairobi.
Kenya is returning
to the tournament, after finishing second in 2016 in Nairobi. It
skipped last year’s event in Kampala, which was won by the
tournament has attracted 12 teams including defending champions
Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia, Senegal,
Morocco, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Namibia.
Simiyu believes the
tournament, Africa’s top competition in Sevens rugby, will be
critical in preparing for the World Series, which starts in
Dubai in December.
After the Tunisia
competition, Kenya will host another two-day tourney, the
Safaricom Sevens in Nairobi where teams from South Africa, USA,
Portugal, Uganda and England will compete.
“We need our best
players to be ready and that is why we want to take these
tournaments seriously,” said the coach.
The coach has kept
faith in youngsters Daniel Taabu and Mark Wandetto to make his
21-member team for the tournament.
Those who have been
retained and have experienced playing in the World Series
include Leonard Mugaisi, Alvin Otieno, Michael Wanjala, Herman
Humwa, Cyprian Kuto and Brian Wahinya.
The coach has given
first calls to Johnstone Olindi, Timothy Mmasi and Eliakim
Kichoi while senior players Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, Willy
Ambaka, Eden Agero and Brian Tanga have not been considered.
The final 12-man
squad will be unveiled closer to the tournament. Kenya are out
to wrest the title from old rivals Uganda.
performance in the World Series last season has made them the
top seeded side in the tournament and they are grouped alongside
Botswana and Morocco in Pool
Kenya rugby team
seeded first in Africa Cup Sevens tourney
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s good performance in the rugby World
Series has seen it seeded first in the upcoming Africa Cup
Sevens tournament, which will be held in Tunisia next month.
It will be the last
competition for coach Innocent Simiyu, who will step down at the
end of October.
However, the coach
says the team, which moved to camp on Wednesday, will be in top
form for the tournament that runs in Monastir, Tunisia on Oct.
Kenya is in the
process to recruit a new head coach with seven international
candidates having put in their applications. New coach will take
over from Nov. 1.
A total of 12 teams
have confirmed participation and Kenya will have to be at their
best form if they are to beat giants Morocco and Botswana in
“We have resumed
training from Wednesday in readiness for this assignment. The
players are all developing after the recess and hopefully will
be in top form as we arrive in Tunisia,” said Coach Simiyu on
Thursday in Nairobi.
Uganda headline Pool B which also features Senegal and Ghana
while Zimbabwe, hosts Tunisia and Mauritius make up Pool C. Pool
D comprises Madagascar, Namibia and Zambia.
Kenya will be keen
to reclaim the trophy they lost to Uganda in the semifinal of
the tournament in 2016 in Nairobi as part of the Kenya’s Safari
Sevens competition. In 2017, Kenya skipped that year’s Africa
Cup, held in Uganda.
The tournament was
then used as a qualifier for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold
Coast, Australia, which Kenya had already qualified for owing to
its top ranking in the World Series.
Kenya named a team
of 41 players to start training for the upcoming season. Coach
Simiyu, however, will not have five utility players who have
been omitted from the squad that is in training.
They are captain
Oscar Ayodi, his deputy Oscar Ouma Samuel Ng’ethe, Arthur Owira
and Samuel Oliech.
They will be using
the tournament to prepare for the start of the World Seven
Series in December in Dubai and in Cape Town a week later.
Last year, the team
finished the World Series circuit with highest-ever points total
of 104 under coach Simiyu.
Kenya will also
compete in the Safaricom Sevens tourney, which will have eight
international teams in Nairobi on Nov. 9-11.
Among the teams that
have been invited include Portugal, Namibia, Ireland, Wales,
South Africa, Spain, USA and Uganda.