• Kenya Sevens coach defends his team’s losing streak

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Dec 03, 2011-

While struggling to find answers for his teams’ eight games losing streak in the Sevens World series, Sevens Coach Mitch Ocholla believes the young Kenyan team has shown remarkable improvement in terms of attacking structure.

Ocholla maintains that Kenya has the character, flashes of which was exhibited in the 19-12 loss to England in the pool stages of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, and the talent to challenge the best as the series progresses.

But the problem that has beset the young Kenyan team is a rather shaky attack coupled with some sloppy ball handling that has been widely exploited by their opponents. In all their matches Kenya has had a rather slow start and always playing catch up game which really disrupted their strategy forcing them to fall deep.

“There is a slight improvement in terms of attacking structure but at the end of the day it almost doesn’t count and the win is what is going to give us a little more confidence. Manning the breakdown from goal posts its something we must address as we move forward.“

Ocholla however believes there is unwarranted pressure on the team devoid of some of its key players who would provide the required blend of experience.

“I would want fans to judge us from where we are coming from and where we are going because at the moment it’s more of expecting too much from the young players, but given time they will come of age.”

It is evident that the losing streak and simple errors is as frustrating as it is upsetting to the coach in his debut series especially after losing all their group matches on the opening day Friday against France, England and Zimbabwe.

Kenya had a similar slow start losing 24-12 to Portugal in the Bowl Quarter final on Saturday with captain Sidney Ashioya and Oscar Ouma, two of the four seasoned players in the team scoring Kenya’s tries. The other two are Horace Otieno and Andrew Amonde.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow but moving forward the development structure is key and we have to remain focused and we have to let the philosophy come through. It is just a matter of time before they sprout.”

Heading into Port Elizabeth next weekend Ocholla is not focusing on what went wrong in the opening leg in Gold Coast and Dubai, but what needs to be done as they move forward.

To prove this he maintains the same squad with the exception of Michael Agevi who will be replaced by Phillip Wamae due to study commitments.

“We are tying to move away from the culture which tends to promote individual players because like now when they are not there it is quite evident. So we are looking at team work and structure.”

Against the UAE in the Shield semi finals Willy Ambaka’s double, which brought his tally here in Dubai to four, and a try each from Ashioya, Tony Onyango and Otieno, ensured they beat debutantes UAE 35-5. They face a weakened Samoa side which lost to Canada in their Bowl quarters before beating Zimbabwe 21-12 in the shield semis.

Collated Results: Main Cup Quarters: Fiji 34 Australia 7, England 10 New Zealand 7,Wales 5 Argentina 7, South Africa 5 France 19.

Plate Semi finals: Australia 26 New Zealand 12 Bowl Quarterfinal: Portugal 24 Kenya 12, Scotland 40 UAE 5, Zimbabwe 7 United States 41, Samoa 17 Canada – 26.

Bowl Semi finals: Canada 17 United States 33, Scotland 19 Portugal 17 Shield semi finals: UAE 5 Kenya 35, Samoa 21 Zimbabwe 12.

 

 

 Evelyn Watta in Dubai

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