NAIROBI, April 30 – Veteran fly-half Biko Adema was handed his first Kenya 7s call-up of the season as head coach ringed changes to an injury depleted squad for the season ending HSBC World Series tour of Glasgow and London.
Adema who last featured in the team at last year’s Commonwealth Games is one of the five changes made by Ochieng on Thursday when he rolled out his 12-man travelling party that will be seeking to qualify for only a second Main Cup quarter-final of a dispiriting campaign.
Dennis Ombachi (Mwamba RFC), Tony Opondo (Strathmore Leos), Homeboyz duo of Oscar Ayodi and Augustine Lugonzo are the other changes.
Lavin Asego, Leonard Mugaisi, Tony Owuor and Felix Ayange paved way with Patrice Agunda also dropped to the non travelling reserves besides KCB’s Philip Wamae and Oscar Dennis from Nondescript.
With Kenya flirting with relegation, Ochieng called on his charges to maintain consistency in each game when they battle it out with series leaders South Africa, champions New Zealand and Samoa in tough Pool B at next weekend’s Glasgow 7s.
“Some of the changes have been warranted by injuries, Ombachi is back and has trained consistently but he is one of the players who upset at having not made in the squad in the past legs so it’s a challenge for him as well.
“There is no secret it’s a very tough and challenging pool because we have the South Africa on top of log and chasing series title, New Zealand are pushing Fiji for Olympic qualifiers and Samoa have had their ups and down this season but on a good day, they are capable of doing well,” Ochieng declared.
He added, “We are closer to relegation than we are from the top even if we win the remaining legs we can’t go any further but I’m confident we are up for the challenge and we shall represent the country with pride.
“No one is happy with our performance this season; we owe the country, fans and since we are going to a county where we won the London Marathon, we hope to build on that,” the head coach stated.
Kenya Rugby Union boss, Richard Omwela called on the team to finish the season on a high to lay a marker for forthcoming regional Olympic Games qualifiers in September after their top-four finish in the World Series dream was crushed.
“Obviously we are in a very difficult pool but at this level of playing there is no hiding place, one is polled according to the past performance. We are not fighting relegation we are far from that.
“We want to finish the season on a high, after London 7s we will immediately focus on the regional qualifiers so that’s a priority and we need to plan adequately, the likes of Zimbabwe and Tunisia will be coming preparing for us,” Omwela who was re-elected last month stated.
The team is set to depart on Monday.
Travelling squad: Andrew Amonde- Captain (KCB), Collins Injera, Humphrey Kayange, Dennis Ombachi, Daniel Sikuta(Mwamba RFC), Tony Opondo, Michael Wanjala, Billy Odhiambo (Strathmore Leos), Augustine Lugonzo, Oscar Ayodi, Bush Mwale (Homeboyz), Biko Adema ( Nondescript).
Non Travelling reserves: Patrice Agunda (Kenya Harlequins), Philip Wamae (KCB), Oscar Dennis (Nondescript)