NAIROBI, November 20 – Nakuru duo Cyprian Shimenga and Vincent Mose will make their International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series debut in Dubai next weekend.
Victor Oduor and Wilson K’opondo have been recalled to the team as part of the four changes to the side that qualified for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“The changes we made are due to various commitments which some of the usual players have like school and work,” said national coach Benjamin Ayimba on Thursday morning.
“Mose is a player who has shown a lot of promise even though he has not come through our development programme but his form this season has been impressive,” added Ayimba who was flanked by.
Former skipper Innocent Simiyu, Allan Onyango and Biko Adema are unavailable due to family, work and school commitments respectively while veteran Dennis Mwanja has been ruled out of the tour with a knee injury.
Kenya has been grouped with South Africa, Scotland and hosts Arabian Gulf in Pool B of the Dubai Sevens which will be held on November 29-30 and in George a week later have a tougher assignment where there are in Pool D with Samoa, Wales and Portugal.
“We will definitely raise our game against South Africa and also when we meet Scotland because they are also a threat and we will also be wary of the Arabian Gulf who beat us two seasons ago in our worst ever showing,” stated Ayimba.
Ayimba said that their target again this year will be six points in every tournament which is a guarantee if they reach the plate final, “ If we can improve on last season by 30 percent, then we will be on our way to our main target which is the World Cup.”
Kenya Sevens director Sasha Mutai said that they have increased player bonuses for the season adding that they will be based on the team’s performance.
“The remuneration the players will receive will depend on what stage of the tournaments they will reach,” said Mutai.
“I believe the squad we have at the moment is just as good as the professionals from the big countries and I’m also confident that they can reach either the semi finals or the final of the World Cup,” he added.
The team departs for Dubai on Monday and return on December 8.
Benedict Nyambu (Nondescripts),Humphrey Kayange (Captain), Lavin Asego, Victor Oduor, Collins Injera, Horace Owiti (Mwamba RFC), Naftaly Bondo, Bryan Nyikuli (Impala), Vincent Mose, Cyprian Shimenga, Gibson Weru (Nakuru), Wilson Kopondo (Mean Machine)
Non traveling reserves:
Andrew Amonde, Simon Kuria, Nato Simiyu
Benjamin Ayimba (Head Coach), Felix Ochieng (Team manager), George Odhiambo (Physio)