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Innocent Simiyu confident as Shujaa leave for South Africa Sevens

RUGBY By Washington Onyango | May 7th 2021
Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu. [File, Standard]

Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu is confident his newly picked national rugby Sevens team will improve their performance after leaving yesterday to South Africa for the 10-day Stellenbosch Solidarity Camp.

Simiyu said he expects good performance from the players with their key focus in their game-play being to improve on their set pieces.

The coach said he is happy with the team he picked, adding that player rotation and full squad fitness played a key role in his selection.

“Training has been very positive as the players have put in good shifts over the past three weeks and I am quite happy with their progress.”

Shujaa super star Collins Injera was named in the national 14-man team.

Injera, arguably Kenya’s best rugby player ever, is back in the Shujaa squad after missing out in the last two tournaments in Madrid and Dubai respectively.

“We’re very happy with the progress seen in the team’s performance and we’re also at a stage where we need to expose more players and do more rotation for us to ensure we have an on-form team as we head out for the Olympic Games,” said Simiyu.

Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde at Dubai 7s. [Courtesy-Dubai 7s]

Levi Amunga and Injera are the new inclusions in the travelling team, while regulars Willy Ambaka and Andrew Amonde couldn’t make the cut.

“We want to give them a chance and see where they are in terms of fitness and how they’re progressing. It will also be good to see how the team plays around them,” added Simiyu.

Shujaa are expected to play South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe on May 8-9 and the following subsequent weekend of May 14-15 as one of the preparations for the Olympic Games.

The team had been in a residential camp at Kasarani since they got back from the Emirates Invitational Sevens.

The team’s overall target is to keep ticking the right boxes when it comes to the on-pitch performance, especially around the set pieces, which has been a key focus during their training sessions.

Getting match fitness for the new players in the team as well as managing those who’ve been in the setup for the last six months is another target for Simiyu.

“We’re very happy that this outing is more of a camp because we will have opportunities for our players to do their refresher Level 1 7s coaching sessions while the management do their Level 2s among other training programmes off the pitch. We want to maximise fully on this camp,” he added.

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