Ayimba: No season goals yet, as Kenya braces for tough season

By francis marangu
Nov 27, 2015
  • Collins Injera captains the Kenya Sevens team in the absence of Andrew Amonde. Four players make their World Rugby Sevens Series debut. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Cynthia Camilla makes her debut for the Kenya Lionesses who depart on Tuesday for Dubai Sevens. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba is planning to take every tournament at a time as the 2015/16 World Rugby World Sevens begins with the Dubai leg on December 4-5.

The new season will then head to South Africa a week later for Cape Town Sevens.

Ayimba, who returns to the team after five years has been handed a one-year contract and  will be keen to improve Kenya’s performance after a dismal outing last season when they finished 13th after flirting with possible relegation.

Speaking on Friday after naming his travelling squad of 12 players, Ayimba said the season is long and he will be dealing with the immediate task at hand. “It’s pretty early to set season goals now. That is the kind of pressure that kills off morale of these boys once they start thinking of the last leg yet they are playing in the first one. For now, we are taking tournament after tournament.”

In Dubai, Kenya will play in a tough Pool D alongside England, Australia and Wales. Ayimba spoke about their minimum targets at the opening leg. “Right now we are concerned about getting out of the pool which is our first business on paper. Once we make it to the quarters, it will be anyone's game,” he noted.

“The best thing we can do is bring our ‘A’ game but it will not be easy. Expect to see every individual player showing his talent because they are now able to make decisions and there will be no limitations on how they play.”

In the squad, four players will be making their debut at the World Series. Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru RFC), Jeff Oluoch (Homeboyz RFC) and Robert Aringo (Impala RFC) are the new faces making the cut.

New players

Ayimba said their inclusion will be a plus to their targets. “From the onset, we have wanted to give a chance to players who were overlooked or have never had the chance. These are players who can easily win a match,” he observed.

“We are going to do rotation this long season and it is purely based on getting the best from the team. It will be impossible to play the same set of players for eight weeks.”

In the absence of bereaved captain Andrew Amonde, his deputy Collins Injera will wear the armband while Oscar Ouma returns to the side. Dennis Ombachi will miss the two legs in Dubai and South Africa with academic and personal commitments while Eden Agero (Quins), Oscar Ayodi (Homeboyz) and Oscar Denis (Nondies) are non-travelling reserves.

The Kenya Lionesses will also be taking part in the Dubai Sevens as an invitational team and head coach Mike Shamiah has named one debutant; Camila Cynthia of Quins. She earned praise from Samiah. “Camilla has been progressing well in terms of skills. We need to develop a pool of talent and she is one player we are looking at.”

Captain Catherine Abila said they are ready. “The coaches have done their work and it's our chance to give the best.”

Former captain Doreen Remour misses out on personal commitments while Sinaida Aura is injured. Lionesses will play in Pool C alongside Great Britain Select, Colombia and Tokyo Phoenix.

Shamiah said they expect to get good opposition from the pool. “I believe this squad will represent us well. We will take one game at a time but it will all depend on weather conditions there.”

Full Squads

Kenya Sevens: Collins Injera (Mwamba, Captain), Biko Adema ( Nondies), Willy Ambaka (Quins), Oscar Ouma (Nakuru), Billy Odhiambo (Strathmore), Leonard Mugaisi (Homeboyz), Augustine Lugonzo (Homeboyz), Bush Mwale (Homeboyz), Frank Wanyama (Quins), Jeff Oluoch (Homeboyz), Robert Aringo (Impala), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru); Non-travelling Reserves: Eden Agero (Quins), Oscar Ayodi (Homeboyz), Oscar Dennis (Nondies); Management: Benjamin Ayimba (Head Coach), Paul Murunga (Assistant Coach), Geoffrey Kimani (Strength & Conditioning), Lameck Bogonko (Physiotherapist), Newton Ong'alo (Team Manager).

Kenya Lionesses: Catherine Abila (Captain), Camilyn Oyuayo, Philadelphia Olando, Celestine Masinde, Irene Otieno, Rachel Mbogo, Sheila Chajira, Janet Owino, Janet Akello, Linet Moraa, Laventer Oguta, Camila Cynthia; Management: Mike Shamiah (Head Coach), Kevin Wambua (Assistant Coach), Ben Mahinda (Physiotherapist), Sarah Otieno (Team Manager).