Ocholla: Any of the top 10 teams can win Kabeberi Sevens

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 06, 2017
  • Geoffrey Ominde, the Nakuru RFC captain attracts the attention of Jeff Oluoch and Cyprian Kuto in the Driftwood 7's final. (SNA. File Photo)

Kababeri Sevens will be bigger and better than Mombasa which was the first tournament.

Various coaches who spoke to SNA admitted that in the first tournament, the players the players were still a bit rusty and lacked match fitness.  They stated that one in one weekend there could be so much change.

This is because, the teams have seen how others play and are likely to make adjustments. "This year, the competition is at another level," predicted Mitch Ocholla who now coaches Nakuru RFC.

In Mombasa, the shorter version of the game demonstrated the brutality where names played a second fiddle.

A case example was whe Mean Machine upset the form book by reaching the main cup quarters at the expense of a strong Kenya Commercial Bank side which had quality players.

Equally impressive were Blak Blad which is coached by Michael 'Tank' Otieno, Menengai Oilers under the stewardship of Gibson Weru, a former Kenya Sevens assistant captain.

Kabras are also dangerous. KCB, Quins, Mwamba, Impala have good teams too and on a good day can beat anybody. "It is not about the top seeds but who turns up on the day," added Ocholla.

Homeboyz are beatable

Nondies are solid despite losing Oscar Dennis with a broken hand. Ginton Adongo is also out for at least six months. Homeboyz are beatable.

Nakuru has eight young players and five seniors. They will be sharper at Kabeberi Sevens. "If you want to be the best, we have to deal with the best. There is no easy pool. One week changes the teams. They become better prepared," Ocholla concluded.

Paul Murunga, the Homeboyz head coach observed that most of the teams which played in Mombasa had a good grasp of the shorter version of the game. "They can pass, run and make good decisions."

In Mombasa, the champions had a dream start. "We thank God and pray for better outings for the remaining fixtures. We achieved our target for the first leg and seen what we need to fix before the second leg," the coach offered.

Although the coach was modest, leadership by experienced Leonard Mugaisi, Cyprian Kuto, Michael Wanjala and Charles Omondi saw key to their win. "We also had a good show by new players Zeden Marrow and Stanley Isigol," Murunga added.

John Onyango who has taken over as head coach at Strathmore University observed the circuit has continued to grow and it is more competitive each season. "Most teams have increased their knowledge of 7's rugby," he noted.

Tricky pool

He comes up against Mean Machine two months after moving to his current club. "It is a tricky pool for us. It wil be tough playing against my former club." These are players he had coached.

"I wasn't surprised by their performance in Mombasa. I coached all those players and knew they had it in them. They have a lot of courage and good work ethic," Onyango stated.

Mean Machine are being handled by a former Mwamba winger Phelem Kidakwa "Biggie" who was not in Mombasa. "I worked with him during the season. He knows the boys very well and is doing a good job," admitted Onyango.

There could be up to four changes for the Kabeberi Sevens defending champions Impala who are rotating their squad. 

The coaches also noted that the standard of refereeing has improved a lot. In Mombasa, Rasta Rasivhenge, one of the top referees in World Rugby had a chance to officiate and was impressed.

George Mwangi Kabeberi Memorial Sevens draw

Division One 

Pool A: Homeboyz, Nondies, Mwamba, Daystar University; Pool B: Nakuru, Quins, KCB, Kisii; Pool C: Menengai Oliers, Impala, Blak Blad, Catholic University; Pool D: Mean Machine, Kabras, Strathmore University, Makueni.

Division two

Pool E: MMUST, Mombasa, TUK, Mwamba II, Pool F: Comras, MKU Thika, Egerton University, Bungoma RFC; Pool G: Stormers, Nakuru KITI, KCA University, Western Bulls; Pool H: JKUAT, Stingerz, Brumbies, Embu; Pool I: Webuye, Northern Sububs, Kiambu, Dagoretti.