Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) may have got it right in re-appointing former Kenyan international Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu as Shujaa head coach, but it will not be a walk in the park for him. Namcos certainly has his work cut out, if his past experience with the union and the coaching musical chairs at the national sevens team that have denied them stability and success is anything to go by.
Just when the team looks to have started doing well, the union falls out with the coaches before either firing them or mutually parting ways.
In the last decade, Shujaa has gone through a staggering nine coaches with New Zealander Paul Feeney being the last to hold the position in April 2020.
For the former national sevens and fifteens captain, who will be in charge of the team for the next two years, his goose was cooked in 2018 after taking full responsibility of the embarrassing Paris Sevens sponsorship debacle that saw players blank out sponsor’s (Brand Kenya) branding image on their jerseys.
His sacking happened barely a few months after he had led Shujaa to its highest ever points haul of 104 (8th position) at the World Sevens Series in the 2017/2018 season before heading to the 2018 World Cup in San Francisco, USA.
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Simiyu’s toughest task will be to unify and rebuild a strong team to represent the country in next year’s postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and other assignments. While many expect him to help restore Kenya’s lost glory on the continental scene, he needs the full backing of the union, the government and other stakeholders.