We must sacrifice to retain core status, Amonde

By the punter
Jan 06, 2022
  • Andrew Amonde is optimistic that through hard work and sacrifice by the players and technical bench, Kenya will retain core status.

“It will take a lot of sacrifice and hard work from the Union, technical bench and the players for Kenya to get back to the winning ways.”

These are the words of Andrew Amonde, the Kenya Sevens captain as they resumed training on Monday for the next two legs of the World Rugby HSBC tournaments next month in New Zealand and the U.S.

Amonde remains optimistic that the return of some of the players is a big boost and adds he is sure Kenya will retain her core status despite a stuttering start in the opening three tournaments in Australia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

“I am not worried. We will pick up. I believe this team is capable of doing much better in the next two legs,” Amonde stated.

The players and technical bench begin life under new coach Felix Ochieng and the captain said: “We have faith in our new technical bench and have great expectations.” Ochieng took over from former South African coach Paul Treu who resigned after the third leg of the HSBC Series in Port Elizabeth.

Treu who had his eyes set on the Olympics threw in the towel after only one year in charge.

In the opening three tournaments, Kenya has struggled in the lowest category, the Shield with Treu experimenting with several combinations and blooding some fringe players. His efforts were however thwarted when 18 players downed their tools asking for a better welfare just before Safari Sevens.

His hard stance saw players from the larger squad, most of them inexperienced, selected for the next three tournaments with predictable results. Although the players and technical bench put on a brave face, there was a public outcry which saw a thaw in the hard stance adopted by KRU.

Build on the future

Amonde who remained as captain explained: “We really picked up a lot especially the young guys who were being exposed to the highest level of rugby. We can build on the future of the team and still have a very large group of players available for selection.”

The KCB player admitted the going was tough but the results were a result of lack of experience. “From what we saw, it was just lack of experience that cost us some of the games.” He has identified many players who are capable of playing at the highest level after being exposed.

These players are Bush Mwale, Tony Owuor, Samson Onsomu, Michael Wanjala, Jacob Ojee, Leonard Mugaisi, Dennis Muhanji, Tony Onyango, Alex Olaba, Augustine Lugonzo, Maxwell Theuri, Fabian Olando, Samuel Motari, Peter Kilonzo, Shaban Ahmed and Henry Owuor. “These boys need to be mentored and they will be the best the country has ever seen. They are very positive,” Amonde observed.

Some of teh players have been named in the core squad from which the traveling 12 will be named by Ochieng. They are Tony Onyango, Mwale, Oliver Mang’eni, Ojee, Michael Wanjala Jnr, Onsomu and Mugaisi.

Completing the squad are Dennis Muhanji, Collins Injera, Dennis Ombachi, Dan Sikuta, Lavin Asego, Patrice Agunda, Billy Odhiambo and Felix Ayange.

The Kenya Sevens captain commented about Pool D in Wellington, New Zealand where Kenya will play against Argentina, Scotland and Samoa. “The Pool in New Zealand is a bit fair compared to the ones we have had before. Having got back all the senior players on the squad and after seeing the teams in the opening three legs, I believe we stand a better chance.”

Oscar Ouma who plays in Sri Lanka is unavailable even after concerted efforts were made to secure his release. The issues which let to the players downing their tools have not been resolved. A source from the KRU said: “We are still negotiating.”