Exclusive:Ayimba Survives The Axe!

Dec 23, 2010

It took the intervention of a highly-placed personality to keep national seven-a-side rugby coach in his job, sportsnewsarena.com can disclose.

After a disastrous start to the IRB’s HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai and George, South Africa, the Kenya Rugby Union National Squads Management Committee which is chaired by Branko Ng’inja held a crisis meeting and duly recommended that Benjamin Ayimba should be relieved of his duties as coach. Others in the committee are Henry Emuye, Willy Ombisi and Edward Rombo.

Among the shortcomings levelled at Ayimba were that he lacked respect for some of the KRU Directors, poor performance and that he did not meet the minimal terms set on his contract.  

The recommendation was supposed to have been forwarded to the KRU Board for ratification. According to our sources, Ayimba was supposed to appear before the Board to answer the allegations levelled at him. 

When the team came back from South Africa, the coach was also asked to explain the debacle. Ayimba, a former national forward and captain had confided in sportsnewsarena.com that he will step down in 2012.  

A document in possession of sportsnewsarena.com had recommended that an advertisement be put out in October as the coach, who is on a yearly contract serves the three month notice. Efforts by sportsnewsarena.com to get Ayimba to give his account were unsuccessful. 

The decision/recommendation by the NSMC was deemed hasty and for the moment, Ayimba stays as coach. Whether this would cause ripples among the KRU Directors is debatable.

Former sevens coach Bill Githinji and Mitch Ocholla who are coaching Impala and Strathmore University respectively are being touted as Ayimba’s successors.

Previously, Ayimba had said openly that he does not need to prove that he is capable when asked why he was ‘objecting’ to being certified. 

In the meantime, KRU has advertised the jobs of a Elite Performance Manager and 15’s Coach. The possibility of having a foreigner apply for the two posts has been ruled out by a requirement that the applicants should be fluent in English and Swahili.

Already, Geoffrey Kimani has been re-hired by the KRU. Kenya is unlikely to accept any invitations to train abroad which is why the KRU has advertised for the post of Elite Performance Manager.  

Last year, Kenya went for a training camp in Australia. This allegedly benefited Australia more than it did for Kenya.

The Australians used the opportunity to ‘spy’ on Kenya and used the information to turn around their seven-a-side team. “They recorded and analysed us and built a team from the data because they have better resources and advanced in sports science,” a KRU director observed. 

The IRB are specific that Kenya should embrace sports science to move to the next level. Top priority should go to player strength and conditioning, nutrition and recovery besides sports science.  

The Elite Performance Manager will be tasked with setting up this structure. One of the team’s consultants/technical bench may be sent for a course in Western Province od Stellenbosch University. 


Eric Odanga

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