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AYIMBA’S FOCUS IS OLYMPICS GAMES: Shujaa coach says IRB series not top of his agenda now

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | March 20th 2016
World Rugby Sevens Series Men's Vancouver Portugal (green) vs Kenya (red) during HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series action in Vancouver, BC, March 12, 2016. Kenya won 43-5. / AFP PHOTO / Don MacKinnon

Kenya Sevens Rugby team head coach Benjamin Ayimba says his side’s focus is on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and not the World Sevens Rugby Series.

With four legs to go, Shujaa are placed eighth on the overall IRB series table standings with 53 points.

But the main talking point has been their recent dismal performance in the Vancouver Sevens leg where they won a single match and garnered only one point.

The quartet of Leonard Mugaisi (sidelined for seven weeks with dislocated arm), Oscar Ayodi, Billy Odhiambo and Dennis Ombachi also sustained injuries in Canada.

“Like I said before, we do not have targets and our main aim was to get out of the 13th position and so far we are doing a good job.

“Now, we would like to focus on the Olympic because that is the most important event.

“Unlike the Series which is there every year, the Olympic comes once after four years and since it is at a time when I am coming back to the team, it is more important,” Ayimba told Feverpitch upon the team’s arrival from Canada.

Reflecting on the team’s performance in Vancouver, the former Kenyan international said: “It is really unfortunate, but as you all know, it takes a little bit of strength to make winning a habit.

“We are hoping that come the next two trips, everything will be sorted out.

“Whenever we go to that field, we want to win all the games. But in Vancouver, we had more than six injuries on that field and sometimes it is just how the nature of sports is. We cannot avoid such kind of things.”

Commenting on next month’s Hong Kong leg where they have been drawn in a tough pool A against New Zealand, Samoa and France, Ayimba said at the moment “there is no favourable pool in the World Series. It is for us to take it in style and get ourselves out of the deep trouble we put ourselves in.”

Ayimba’s sentiments were echoed by his captain Andrew Amonde.

“I think injuries were a minor contribution to whatever happened in Vancouver because we still had players who could go to the field and play very well and give us the results that we wanted.

“But we now have enough time to get an injury free squad for the Hong Kong round,” Amonde said

“That pool can go either way. On paper, it looks very tough.”

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