Tietjens rejected Kenya 7s for Samoa- Omwela

This file photo taken on September 6, 2016 shows New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens announcing his ...
This file photo taken on September 6, 2016 shows New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens announcing his retirement in Wellington. Tietjens was unveiled as Samoa's new mentor on October 14, just a month after quitting his New Zealand job following the side's failure at the Rio Olympics.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss Richard Omwela has disclosed they opted for former captain Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu to take over as national rugby sevens head coach after Gordon Tietjens turned down the post for Samoa.

Omwela unveiled the former 7s and 15s skipper as the new Shujaa boss on Monday to end a month long search for a new technical bench six weeks before the start of the 2016/17 HSBC World Series in Dubai.

“Sir Tietjens did not apply for the job; we knew he was available after his stint with the New Zealand team ended. He did not apply neither were we going to interview him. We were hunting when we realized he was available.

“He expressed interest but at that point in time but he was also being sought after by other nations like Samoa and Canada. Up to Friday, we kept in touch with him but he chose Samoa. He further contacted us and we respected his decision,” Omwela told Citizen Digital.

He explained they had opted for Simuyu, 33, to take over the hot Shujaa seat instead of the experienced Benjamin Ayimba who led the side last season as the next best man for the job.

“Innocent is young but you must give young people a chance considering that he has played both at the highest level in 7s and 15s national teams and we believe he is going to deliver with the squad we have handed him,” the union boss underscored.

Omwela further denied reports doing rounds that Ayimba paid a steep price for taking on Union bosses head on in the controversial State House visit of Shujaa before they left for the Rio 2016 Olympics in August.

“Benjamin’s contract came to an end on 30th September this year and he was one of the interviewees.

“We did not deny him a chance since we interviewed him together with the rest before deciding that Simiyu as the coach we will work with,” he told.

“Everybody who was interested sent their curriculum vitae and we then shortlisted the names and after selection processes we looked at the merits of each individual and in the shortlist Simiyu came up in terms of technical ability and knowledge and ability to perform,” the lawyer by profession outlined.

-Report by Richard Obaga

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