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Namcos eyes top-ten finish as squad heads to Paris

Frank Wanyama (L) of Kenya runs with the ball against Argentina during day one of Singapore Rugby Sevens tournament on April 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu believes a top-ten finish is still a realistic target in the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens World Series as the season comes close to an end.

Shujaa, who finished seventh overall in the 2015/16 HSBC Sevens World Series on 98 points, has had a rough season this year. The team is currently ranked 11th with 57 points from eight legs after being relegated to the Challenge Trophy six times in a row.

Despite being drawn in a tricky Pool C alongside Cape Town and Vancouver Sevens champions England, hosts France and invitational side Spain in this weekend’s Paris Sevens (May 13-14), Simiyu is motivated by the team’s good preparations and their buoyant mood ahead of the final two rounds of the series in Paris and London.

“Our target still remains the same; to get at least ten points from each of the remaining two legs (Paris and London). It is gonna be tough but I believe we have what it takes to finish in the top ten. As far as I am concerned, that’s an achievable target,” Simiyu told the Standard Sports prior to their departure to Paris on Monday.

“We have had a very successful high-altitude training camp in Nanyuki where we tried to get the boys’ concentration levels up. The boys are in good shape ready for the tasks in Paris and London. We expect them to perform well and at least have a shot at the Cup twice.

“Being the final two rounds, we want to give our all and hopefully secure positive results.”

His sentiments were echoed by the duo of Impala’s Sammy Oliech and returning Kenya Commercial Bank full back Darwin Mukidza, who were all smiles as the team left the country on Monday.

“We’re looking to finish on a high, get whatever points we can get and hopefully play in the cup semi-finals onwards,” said an optimistic Oliech.

“It feels great to be back. It is going to be a real test for me. I have gelled well with the rest of the team and I expect to go and perform well,” added Mukidza, who is returning to the team for the first time since the opening rounds in Dubai and Cape Town.