Sikuta and Kuto recalled to 7's squad as Simiyu opts for continuity

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Nov 04, 2021
  • Innocent Simiyu opted for continuity by naming 14 players inherited from his predecessor Benjamin Ayimba in his squad of contracted players ahead of the World Rugby 7's Series. (Photo by Ade Olunya)

  • Darwin Mukidza makes the switch from 15's to the shorter version of the code after he was named as one of the players in the 21-man squad by coach Innocent Simiyu. (Photo by Ade Olunya)

As expected, Innocent Simiyu, the new Kenya seven-a-side coach opted for continuity when he retained 14 of the players who finished seventh in the 2015/16 World Rugby Sevens World Series season.

On Thursday, Simiyu named a squad of 21 contracted players for the 2016/17 season. He recalled Dan Sikuta,Cyprian Kuto and Martin Owila.

Four 'new' players, Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda, Derek Mayar and Darwin Mukidza are all in line for their World Series debuts this season.Tanga and Beda have been in the wider squad of the previous coach Benjamin Ayimba. 

Ian Minjire (injured), Alex Olaba , Elton Isiaho and Dennis Ombachi did not make the cut from the original 25 who were called to the provisional squad.

The new players fill the void left by Biko Adema and Humphrey Kayange (retired).

But even as the squad prepares for the opening tournament in Dubai next month, there have been discontent over unpaid bonus and allowances for the previous season. These issues are unresolved.

For the bonuses, Kenya Airways scaled down and as a result, bonuses were not factored in. Kenya Rugby Union 'promised' to look for alternative sources to pay the bonuses but has failed to address the issue.

A KRU official was non commital about the amounts owed and chose to address their intent to engage more partners among them a media firm. There have also been suggestions of having a joint partner for the official jersey.

In a related development, Simiyu is not in a hurry to name an assistant. Sports News Arena learned feelers have been sent to Menengai Oilers' Gibson Weru, a former Kenya assistant captain. But, Weru who has more secure job is unwiling to 'risk' being part of the 7's team.

As a result, Simiyu has switched his attention to identifying an analyst before he can think of an assistant. A source close to the coach said: "At the moment, he believes it's important to get an analyst."

Kenya Sevens squad: Andrew Amonde (KCB, Captain), Martin Owila, Darwin Mukidza (KCB), Dan Sikuta, Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda (Kabras Sugar), Cyprian Kuto, Alvin Otieno, Oscar Ayodi, Bush Mwale, Leonard Mugaisi, Augustine Lugonzo (Homeboyz), Sammy Oliech, Derek Mayar (Impala), Oscar Ouma, Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru), Frank Wanyama, Eden Agero, William Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Billy Odhiambo, Collins Injera (Mwamba)

Namibia squad named

A 16 man Kenya Sevens team heads to Namibia on Monday for a week’s training camp ahead of the the Safland Sevens taking place on 12-13 November in the coastal city of Swakopmund.

The team, whose travel has been jointly facilitated by tournament sponsors Safland and The Swakopmund Dome, features twelve players with previous Sevens World Series experience led by captain Andrew Amonde.

Four other players – Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda, Darwin Mukidza and Derek Mayar round off the playing unit.

Meanwhile, Strength and Conditioning Coach Ian Gibbons will link up with the side in Namibia.

Some of the teams invited to the eight team, top tier category of the tournament include the USA, Argentina, Germany, Zimbabwe, Italy, Uganda and hosts Namibia.

Kenya squad to Namibia

Andrew Amonde (captain), Oscar Ouma, William Ambaka, Frank Wanyama, Nelson Oyoo, Leonard Mugaisi, Daniel Sikuta, Billy Odhiambo, Eden Agero, Bush Mwale, Martin Owila, Augustine Lugonzo, Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda, Darwin Mukidza and Derek Mayar.

Management: Innocent Simiyu (Head Coach), Ian Gibbons (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Lameck Bogonko (Physio), Erick Ogweno (Team Manager).