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Shujaa seek to bounce back in Vancouver after a blip at Olympic

RUGBY By Washington Onyango | September 18th 2021
Eroni Sau (L) of Fiji tries to tackle Nelson Oyoo (R) of Kenya during the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens Cup final. [AFP]

After a disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics where the national men’s rugby sevens team finished ninth, Shujaa will be aiming to impress at the opening round of the 2021-2022 World 7s Series-Vancouver Sevens, in Canada today.

Kenya, who are pooled in Group A together with African heavyweights South Africa, Spain and Mexico will play Spain in their opening match at the BC Place Stadium tonight (8.31pm).

They will then take on invitational side Mexico at 11:42 pm before clashing with their perennial rivals South Africa tomorrow morning (3:35am).

Shujaa coach Innocent Simiyu will be hoping the likes of Mark Kwemoi, Levy Amunga, Alvin Marube, Derrick Keyoga and Timothy Mmasi impress on their World 7s Series debut.

"It is an interesting pool where we have Springboks whom we have played regularly but also unfamiliar foes in Mexico. Spain is another tricky side but we are going to work ourselves and ensure we take each game at a time and execute our tactics well,” said Simiyu.

Simiyu named Nelson Oyoo as captain while Willy Ambaka, Herman Humwa, Alvin Otieno, Daniel Taabu, Jeff Olouch and Billy Odhiambo all have maintained their places in the team.

KCB trio of Jacob Ojee, Vincent Onyala and Johnstone Olindi are some of the notable absentees in the team alongside Dan Sikuta of Kabras Sugar.

Simiyu said he will be using the four upcoming tournaments in Vancouver, Edmonton, Dubai as part of their preparations for the Commonwealth Games slated for next year in Birmingham and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in September.

“Our key focus in the first two tournaments is to get our game going and start hitting those performance targets early enough in the season. If we can be able to play in the quarters and semis, it will be a very big plus in this journey that is heading towards the Commonwealth Games and World Cup,” he concluded.

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