Kenya Sevens team breakdown hits lowest ebb in Paris
Expectations were high for the Kenya Sevens rugby team ahead of last weekend’s penultimate round of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris, France.
Innocent Simiyu side’s target was to at least qualify for the Main Cup quarters or get ten points from the second round of the season and keep their top ten finish hopes alive.
But it never came to pass as basic errors, fatigue and conditioning saw Shujaa drop one place (12th) on the overall World Series with 58 points after garnering a point.
This was arguably Kenya’s worst performance this season the other being the Sydney Sevens where they bagged two points.
Social media was awash with local fans criticising the national team for its below par performance in Paris.
Yesterday, a player who sought anonymity blamed the who performance on travel chaos that saw some players arrive in France a day to to the tournament, a charge Kenya Rugby Union chair Richard Omwela dismissed as baseless.
The sextet of Sammy Oliech, Frank Wanyama, Eden Aguero, Bush Mwale, Augustine Lugonzo and Nelson Oyoo together with technical bench member Sammy Njogu deferred their departure to Wednesday due to delay of their visa processing.
Coach Simiyu had to wait for the second batch to arrive for him to conduct a full team training on Friday.
According to the player who sought anonymity, the delay was caused by financial bureaucracy at the Kenya Rugby Union and the refusal of entry by one of the directors to the United Kingdom for this weekend’s final round.
“We applied the visas in two groups, unfortunately our group delayed to get their visas because we had applied together with a director who had been denied entry to UK,” said the player, who was in the second batch.
“The Union also delayed to make payments for the whole visa application process. We arrived in Paris on Thursday and held one training session as a team the following day. We didn’t have enough time to rest.”
However, when contacted Kenya Rugby Union chairman Richard Omwela absolved the the Union of visa processing delay issue and dismissed director’s refusal entry claims.
“Visa application is in the docket of the team manager. He should have booked for all players’ interviews in good time. We have never had a problem with any embassy before. This is the first time in the Sevens team history that we travelled in two batches,” said Omwela.
“Yes, we performed badly in Paris, but we shouldn’t start blaming each other. These are baseless claims with no truth in them.”