Simiyu: Shujaa have to cope with Ambaka, Sikuta absence
Kenya national sevens head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu says that he has to deal with last minute withdraws of dependable forwards as limping Shujaa tackle the Asian leg of HSBC World Series in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Shujaa suffered a huge blow when Willy Ambaka and Dan Sikuta pulled out of the Sevens squad ahead of the start of the Hong Kong 7s on Friday with Kenya struggling to improve on their 12th place in the 2016/17 standings.
Mwamba RFC Billy Odhiambo linked up with the squad in Hong Kong to take up the place of Ambaka who is rumoured to be pursuing a move to a club in New Zealand.
Sikuta who opted out due to work commitments will not be replaced because he was named as the 13th player since Series gives every team an extra slot in case one player gets injured.
The forward could yet feature for his side Kabras Sugar RFC in their crucial Kenya Cup semi-final clash against Homeboyz RFC as the simmering row between club and country reared its head in the run-up to Hong Kong.
“We have some players who will double up in their positions, Collins (Injera, Vice-captain) can play on the wing or at the centre and we have Bush (Mwale) who can play at centre or hooker so we will try to adapt the players in terms of positions,” Simiyu said in a video posted on YouTube by Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Head of Communications, Michael Kwambo.
Ambaka is ranked seventh in the DHL performance tracker after the first six legs with 196 points from 72 tackles, one offload, 27 breaks and 96 carries and lead the try scoring charts for Shujaa with 19 five-pointers.
Ambaka and Sikuta have been in Simiyu’s squad for the last six outings in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Wellington, Las Vegas and Vancouver 7s.
Derrick Mayar is expected to make his Shujaa debut in Hong Kong this weekend with Simiyu explaining the reason behind his maiden call up is because he has excelled well in training.
“In terms of skills he his very good he is also good in high balls and he is a sprinter so he will bring some pace in our game and bring some advantage in the high balls which is an area we need to improve in our team as we kickoff,” Simiyu added.
Shujaa have collected 40 points after six legs and will face South Africa, Canada and France in Pool B.
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