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NO ROOM FOR ERRORS: Sevens coach Ayimba cautions his charges ahead of qualifiers

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | October 19th 2015
Kenya's Shuja Willy Ambaka forces his way out against Burundi during the first day of 2015 Safari sevens rugby tournament at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Oct. 3 2015. [PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba says they will not underrate their group opponents in the upcoming African Olympic Qualifiers set for November 14-15 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

With their continental rivals and hosts South Africa having already qualified, Shujaa are considered as favourites to  headline Pool A, which has Madagascar, Senegal and Mauritius.

"This is a qualifying tournament and we can't afford to undermine any of our opponents. We have not played against any of our pool opponents and I don't know anything about them, but there is no room for underrating any team. We have set targets and everybody wants to play in Brazil next year," Ayimba told FeverPitch.

The team is back in the capital after a four-day high altitude training camp at the Nandi Bears Golf Club, in Nandi County and it resumed training at the James Cambridge School in Karen on Friday.

Although only 19 of the 32 players in the provisional squad attended the Nandi training, the former national team captain said he is impressed with the team's fitness level.

"We have achieved a lot from the Nandi training, where we have been since last Monday. The boys are in good shape both physically and psychologically. The main objective was to work on their psychological part and focus on how we can work together as a team in the new season. We hope to go back there before departing to Johannesburg," said Ayimba.

"We had full training sessions and I am happy with how the guys are taking everything as we draw closer to the qualifiers. We didn't have a full house because some of the players had personal commitments, but we expect all of them to be here this week."

Ayimba said the final squad, which will be trimmed down to 12 players in the next two weeks, will comprise mostly youthful players, who starred at the recently concluded 20th edition of the Safari Sevens tournament.

"All players have been impressive since we started training, but unfortunately, only 12 of them will travel to South Africa. I will name the travelling party within the next two weeks, but expect more of the guys who featured in Safari Sevens," said Ayimba.

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