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Kenya ready to tackle the world at Safari 7s

Last updated 9 months ago | By Clement Wekulo

South Africa's Stedman Gans is tackled during the World Rugby Sevens Series match between South Africa and Kenya at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on January 26, 2019. (Photo / AFP)

The team has been boosted by the return of Collins Injera and William Ambaka who missed the entire 2018-19 season.

Paul Feeney, head coach of the Kenya national men’s rugby Sevens team, is optimistic the side will put up a good performance at next weekend’s Safari Sevens tournament in Nairobi.

The three-day event, which will be played between October 18-20 at the RFUEA grounds, will see Kenya field two teams; Shujaa and Morans with the latter expected to be largely comprised of rookies.

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has announced a 24-man provisional squad which will be split into two in the coming days for the Safari Sevens. 

“We have made some great improvements on our structures. We are working hard on our strengths as well as our individual skills. I believe we are on target on putting up a great show during the Safari Sevens,” said Feeney, who also doubles up as the KRU Technical Director.

The New Zealander, who took charge of the national team two weeks ago, will be seeking to start his reign on a high by helping Shujaa reclaim the title they last won in 2016.

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Shujaa’s quest to clinch the Robin Cahill trophy will, however, receive stiff competition from World Sevens Series participants South Africa who have confirmed their participation.

Defending champions Samurai Select and 2018 Africa Sevens winners Zimbabwe are the other hopefuls for the title.

The Kenyan team, which has been in training for the past two months, has been boosted by the return of the key trio of Collins Injera, William Ambaka and Billy Odhiambo who make a comeback having missed the entire 2018-19 season as they were protesting KRU’s decision to slash their wages.

The three join Andrew Amonde, Daniel Sikuta and Nelson Oyoo who agreed to rejoin the squad in March after successful negotiations with their employer.

Eden Agero, Samuel Oliech, Oscar Ouma, Brian Tanga and Denis Ombachi are yet to return.

Kenya’s provisional squad has seen the inclusion of some uncapped young players who impressed during the National Sevens Circuit.

They include Davis Nyaundi of Menengai Oilers, Mwamba RFC pair of Joel Inzuga and Mike Okello, Nakuru RFC’s Monate Akuei and Ian Mabwa of Nondescripts.

Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will use the Safari Sevens showpiece to prepare for this year’s Africa Sevens tournament slated for Johannesburg next month.

The continental event will also act as a qualifying campaign for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.