Kenya 7s coach confusion: Who’s fooling who?

Shujaa skipper Andrew Amonde greets his GB counterpart, Mitchell before kick-off of their Group C ...
Shujaa skipper Andrew Amonde greets his GB counterpart, Mitchell before kick-off of their Group C opener at Rio 2016. PHOTO/2016

The air of uncertainty has descended on the national sevens team following the bungled process of installing a new technical bench ahead of the start of the 2016/17 HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) was supposed to unveil the new technical team on Thursday but what has followed is a circus that has left the rugby fraternity reeling in confusion.

“The press function to unveil the Kenya Sevens management teams has been postponed to a later date which will be communicated by the Kenya Rugby Union in due course,” the union said in a brief press statement.

In the past 24 hours, the post of head coach has been linked to former New Zealand boss, Gordon Teitjens, former captain Innocent Simiyu and Fijian Samurai Barracudas boss, Sailosi Naiteqe.

While no one outside officials at KRU head quarters at Nairobi’s Ngong Road has a clue, the general consensus in the rumour mill is there is no route back for Benjamin Ayimba who led the team last season.

Speaking to Citizen Digital on Friday, Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde warned time is running out for the preparations for the start of the HSBC World Series in December noting that other Core sides have already started training for the upcoming season.

“The Union could have done the process long time ago rather than bring it near the start of the circuit,” said Amonde.

“We don’t know the plans of the Union since we don’t know who is in the team and besides, we have not been paid our bonuses from last year. Regardless of what is happening with Kenya, the season will kick-off in two months,” the KCB RFC player remarked.

Former KRU Technical Director, Fred Ollows, defended the federation suggesting the delay was in line with ensuring a proper technical bench is chosen to plan for the next Olympics cycle.

“England invented and developed the game but their coach isn’t from England. An elite sport doesn’t follow those issues but it’s a question of saying who is the most competent in the international arena,” explained Oloo.

Our efforts to reach KRU chairman, Richard Omwela were not successful after failing to pick calls.

In an earlier interview with Omwela this month, the chairman said they had advertised for the position since Ayimba’s contract had ended.

He went ahead to promise that the national men’s rugby sevens team, Shujaa, would have a new coach by last weekend.

The advertisement attracted 14 applicants, among them Ayimba who told of his certainty he would not be offered his position back after returning to the helm before the start of last season.

Simiyu, Charles Cardovillis and Paul Murunga who was his assistant last season were the shortlisted for the job with none of the foreigners making the final grading.

On Tuesday KRU distanced itself from another shortlist that made the rounds that had Mitch Ochola, Cardovilis, Simiyu, Murunga and Naiteqe.

A day later, Tietjens was named the new Samoa head coach and earlier Friday, a report in a Fijian outlet claimed Naiteqe had got the nod.

The Samoa Rugby Union made the official announcement on appointment of the former New Zealand rugby sevens coach at a press conference in the country’s capital, Apia on Friday.

On the same day, Naiteqe, a former selector of the national Fijian sevens team termed the reports in a reply to a social media posts as fabrication.

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Story By Kenerickson Njeru
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