Felix Ochieng to handle Kenya 7s team in Gold Coast

By francis marangu
Sep 18, 2021

The Kenya Sevens team will begin their 2013/14 International Rugby Board World Series campaign without a new coach.

The team has been short of a substantive head coach after Mike Friday resigned in July and has been under the hands of assistant coach Felix Ochieng.

It was widely expected that a new coach would be unveiled before the Safaricom Safari Sevens which takes place this weekend but Kenya Rugby Union, KRU, has kept that a highly guarded secret.

KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee has confirmed that Ochieng, who leads Kenya at Safari Sevens this weekend, will still be in charge at the opening leg of the World Series in Gold Coast, Australia next month.

“We are still in the process of identifying the new coach. Felix will for sure be taking the team to Gold Coast and any new member will be activated in Dubai and not before that,” he said on Wednesday.

The announcement cleared speculation that South African Paul Treu had already been appointed to succeed Friday.

With a surety that a new coach could be in place by the time Kenya heads to Dubai for the second leg, it might be a strategic approach by the Union since Treu’s contract with South African Rugby Union expires in October.

However, Muthee denied any such possibility saying they have left their options wide open.

“Treu is not the only coach we have approached from South Africa. We have been evaluating several applications from New Zealand, Fiji among several other countries and a decision will be made at the right time.”

Ochieng has expressed optimism that he will engineer a positive start with the team when the series begin.

His assignment starts immediately at the Safari Sevens where he will work closely with other members of the technical bench to select a strong side for the Gold Coast Sevens.

“As you will see, some of the core players like Amonde and Injera will not be very active at the tournament. They will have to contend with their role on the bench as we set sights on the new international season,” Ochieng noted.

Muthee further clarified that they have a plan of having Humphrey Kayange as the team’s assistant coach even after insisting that his wish is to continue with active playing.

“We have a plan for Humphrey who has been a role model and mentor to these young players. He is a player but what’s next for him? He can operate as a player-coach to help Felix and when there is need he can play as well.”

An elaborate program for the sevens team will be unveiled before the Gold Coast tour and it will incorporate several aspects of the game.

This will be in line with the union’s focus that is zeroed on a wider arrangement that will include experts in key areas of concern.

“We have many hospitals and universities that have already shown interest of hosting the programs. Rugby has become an Olympics sport and it cannot be handled in a casual way which is why we are taking the program seriously,” Muthee said.