By BS MULAVI
The Kenya national Sevens team will not be affected by the recent boardroom wars at the Kenya Rugby Union.
This is the optimistic verdict of immediate former national sevens coach Mitch Ocholla in an exclusive to Feverpitch as the country prepares to take part in the Sevens Rugby World in Moscow from 28th-30th June.
“From the team that has been chosen, I think the boys are very strong willed and they will not let such issues get into their way,” he explained. “We have a very resilient team that has a mixed variety of old and young players.”
“The return of Lavin Asego and Humphrey Khayange is bound to make the team stronger and with more options,” he said. The addition of some younger players like Robert Aringo, gives the team a tinge of surprise, he added.
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Even though Ocholla is hopeful of a good display by the boys, he was a bit reluctant on committing on what position he thinks the team will finish at the tournament. “Sevens is a funny sport,” he said. “Any team can play well and surprise the world, this was evident in the previous world cup where Wales came from nowhere and won the title.”
Even Kenya was not that big then, but we saw them beat Fiji and make it for their first ever semi-final in a tournament of that magnitude,” he added. “However I fully believe we have the potential and talent to win the tournament and the boys are fully motivated.”
Ocholla praised the tournament sponsors Kenya Airways for keeping to their promise to pay the team bonuses at the end of the season and he believes that this will be a major factor as to how the team will perform.
“The players have all been rewarded for their efforts and they now know that it is not an empty promise,” he said. “They will work extra hard and will not get deviated by some of the minor issues that are currently making headlines in the boardroom.”
Meanwhile, the KRU has fully thrown their weight behind Coach Mike Friday by saying that he will be taking the team to the Rugby World Cup. Despite doing a review on the coach, the Union has remained mum on the findings and there is uncertainty as to whether Friday will finish the two years that he had signed for in his contract.
The 16 man national squad is currently attending a 10 day training camp in London and while there, the squad will be further trimmed to 12 before departing for Moscow on 25th June, three days ahead of their campaign which sees them placed in Pool C alongside Samoa, Zimbabwe and Phillipines.