Amonde: Eyes on Olympics qualifier

By the punter
Nov 13, 2015
  • Andrew Amonde, the Kenya 7's captain has his eyes on the Olympics qualifier this weekend despite a tough draw in Dubai Sevens. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

For now, Kenya's eyes are on doing well in the Africa Zone Olympics qualifier which kicks off in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday and not the tough pool they have been drawn in Dubai for the opening tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Rugby Series.

Andrew Amonde, the Kenya Sevens captain acknowledged it was a difficult pool after Kenya finished 13th last year. "We will be focusing on that after this weekend. What I know is that we will be back with a bang. It is a very difficult pool and we have been seeded last," Amonde stated.

In Dubai, Kenya has been drawn in Pool D with England, Australia and Wales. Fiji, the defending champions are in Pool A with Argentina, Canada and Japan.

Pool B has South Africa, Scotland, Samoa and Russia while 12-time Series champions New Zealand, USA, France and Portugal are in Pool C. Dubai Sevens will be played from December 3-5.

The Kenya captain said Olympics qualification was a big deal: "Qualifying for the Olympics is a big deal for us especially for our country and for rugby. It is something we have dreamt about for a very long time and now have a chance to get it right."

He has confidence in the team noting Kenya has no limits to what they can achieve when the sevens season starts. "Kim has worked very hard with us and we expect to see good results this weekend," Amonde said in reference to Geoffrey Kimani, the Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Amonde spoke to sportsnewsarena.com from Johannesburg after the captain's run on Friday and just said the team was ready for the games on Saturday. Kenya which has been seeded top in the 12-team qualifier kick off the tournament against Mauritius. "We have settled in very well," he assured.

Taking no chances

Casting his eyes on the Pool which also has Madagascar, Senegal and Mauritius, Amonde warned they were not taking chances with any team. "We don't know exactly what to expect from them. We are just focusing on us to perform at 100%. The results will take care of themselves," the captain answered.

Echoing the sentiments of the team's technical bench which also has Benjamin Ayimba and Paul Murunga, the captain agreed the Kenya squad in South Africa was very talented and flexible to any condition.

He added they are hard working and determined. The team has adopted a system where every player is comfortable in their various roles and able to cover for any lapses. "Where we are now, I can say we are using what works for us better. Kenyans should expect a renewed team," he observed.

Some of the players to watch out for this weekend are Augustine Lugonzo, Frank Wanyama and Billy Odhiambo who have been outstanding during the preparations.

The top eight teams will be seeded for the cup quarters with the last four proceeding to the Bowl semi-finals.

World Rugby Africa Zone Olympics qualifiers

Pools

Pool A: Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, Mauritius; Pool B: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria; Pool C: Tunisia, Namibia, Morocco, Botswana.

Order of play

Kenya v Mauritius (11 a.m), Zimbabwe v Nigeria (11.22). Tunisia v Botswana (11.44), Madagascar v Senegal (12.06), Uganda v Zambia (12.28), Namibia v Morocco (12.50), Kenya v Senegal (1.42), Zimbabwe v Zambia (2.04), Tunisia v Morocco (2.26), Madagascar v Mauritius (2.48), Uganda v Nigeria (3.10), Namibia v Botswana (3.32), Kenya v Madagascar (4.14), Zimbabwe v Uganda (4.36), Tunisia v Namibia (4.58), Senegal v Mauritius (5.20), Zambia v Nigeria (5.42), Morocco v Botswana (6.04).

Dubai Sevens draw

Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, Canada, Japan; Pool B: South Africa, Scotland, Samoa, Russia; Pool C: New Zealand, USA, France, Portugal; Pool D: England , Australia, Wales, Kenya.