'Dubai has been a disaster’-Ayimba

Dec 04, 2021

Dubai has been a disaster! These were the words of coach Benjamin Ayimba after Kenya were whipped 43-0 on saturday in the Bowl quarter finals of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.

Although Kenya bounced back to edge out Portugal 19-12 in the Shield semi-finals to book a date with France in the final, the coach did not hide his team’s performance in sweet words. “Things have not come together. The game plan has not been embedded in the new players and we are learning the hard way. This is a rebuilding phase,” the coach said.

He admitted that it will take some time before the new players learn the ropes from the old hands. “It is disheartening but these players have a lot to offer in the future,” Ayimba acknowledged.

The conviction came from the same situation the former Kenya forward faced with a new team which learnt the ropes and managed to become a force to reckon with in the IRB HSBC World Sevens Series.

Rather than throw in the towel, Ayimba said the focus for this season is to give the new players ‘more air time’ which will eventually pay off.

“Five pillars of the team – Innocent Simiyu, Collins Injera, Biko Adema, Lavin Asego and Sidney Ashioya – were unavailable. I had to select the best team available,” he explained.

On the contrary, Ayimba is full of praise for youngsters Patrice Agunda, David Ambunya and Dennis Ombachi who he believe are on the way to getting a permanent place in the core squad. He also speaks highly of Edgar Abere and Ken Moseti.

In Dubai, Ayimba observed that Edwin Shimenga confounded critics with a stellar performance. “Sometimes you have to go outside the ‘box’ to get the best players. Sometimes it is necessary to break the rules to get a team. This was the same case when we included Gray Cullen in the team. After he performed well, the ‘noise’ went down,” recalled Ayimba.

Asked whether he has become very arrogant, Ayimba posed before saying: “I always say what I mean.”

Commenting on Kenya’s debacle, Ayimba explained that in the first match against the Arabian Gulf, “some players were played out of position and new guys included. The team and players gained confidence in the next game and the systems again collapsed against Samoa because of a mental block,” he said.  

Against Argentina, everything collapsed. “It was a bad display. I don’t know what to say,” Ayimba admitted.

Eric Odanga in Dubai

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