NAIROBI, Kenya, March 19 – After seven months of rehabilitation, former skipper Humphrey Kayange, is back in the national Sevens team that will depart Sunday for the sixth and seventh legs of HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Kayange, who returns to the squad for the first time this season after sustain an ankle injury at last year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is the only change that head coach, Felix Ochieng made when unveiling the 12-man travelling party on Thursday.
Ochieng who led the team to its best outing this season at Wellington and Las Vegas, said Kayange’s return is a major boost as they focus on starting on high in Hong Kong next weekend when they lock horns with former Kenya 7s tactician, Mike Friday’s USA, England and Wales.
“I have trust in all players and Kayange has a lot of work to do but it’s important to have him in the team to provide leadership skills. We have players who have really matured in the game so he must enjoy his time because there are players who will play and perform better like him.
“We have tried to get a good combination of experienced and young players for us to get results that we want. It’s always a headache to select team when you have a full house but despite that, we have to ensure we get the right combination that take onto the pitch and be able to execute and perform the duties,” Ochieng stated.
Ochieng dropped Homeboyz’s Oscar Ayodi who is tied by school commitments and Western Bull’s Dennis Muhanji who replaced vice captain, Collins Injera in Las Vegas when the country’s record try scorer returned home mid-tour to welcome his second child.
“It’s just a matter of players maintaining focus and minimizing errors on the day and getting better of opposition, tactically we have ensured we have trained our players how it’s important to change and execute tactics going into the second tournament.
“We will do analysis in our opening match against USA but it’s who is prepared well and takes chances will advance from the group,” the coach explained.
Captain Andrew Amonde told Capital Sport, they are out to maintain core status as they seek to improve on their 12th spot and 29 points with four legs to go.
“We expect nothing than the best; I believe we have what it takes to get to the next level. Kayange’s return is a big boost and a lot is expected from him, we are confident he will carry us where we could not do by ourselves.
“We are going to start on a high to contain our opponents in the first half because that’s what messed us in Las Vegas where we started the game slowly,” the skipper declared.
Homeboyz’s youngster Bush Mwale, who has maintained consistency since upgrading to the senior team this season, is aiming to take his performance to the highest level.
“I’m proud to be in the squad; we will try our best and make our country proud. The previous legs have been tough for me but I’ve now gained my grounds. Our main focus in Hong Kong is to reach Cup quarters.”
Re-elected chairman, Richard Omwela who spoke at his first official function since Monday’s polls victory said he will harmonize player’s contracts as he embraced the need of performance related deals introduced by his predecessor, Mwangi Muthee.
“The senior player’s contracts were terminated while those from the lower tier were issued so there has been an inconsistency and players expectation but we had a talk with them to see how we will harmonize it because it’s very critical.
“We will find out funds available and how we will restructure the contract as well as how many players should be on contract. It has to be a policy that cuts across and not favouring others,” Omwela who popularized the shorter version of the game during his previous tenure, declared.
Andrew Amonde – (KCB, Captain),Collins Injera (Mwamba),Dan Sikuta (Mwamba),Humphrey Kayange (Mwamba), Lavin Asego (Mwamba), Tonny Owuor (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos), Michael Wanjala (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos), Billy Odhiambo (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos), Bush Mwale (Homeboyz),Leonard Mugaisi (Homeboyz),Felix Ayange (Kenya Harlequin),Patrice Agunda (Kenya Harlequin)
Non Traveling Reserves
Dennis Ombachi (Mwamba), Philip Wamae (KCB), Sammy Oliech (Resolution Impala Saracens)
Felix Ochieng (Head Coach), Vuyo Zangqa (Attack Coach), Graham Bentz (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Lameck Bogonko (Physio), Steven Sewe (Team Manager).