NAIROBI, Kenya, February 25 – Innocent Simiyu has been recalled to the national sevens rugby team for next month’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.
Simiyu who has not featured in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series this season has been given the full backing by Kenya coach Benjamin Ayimba who named the team on Wednesday.
“Namcos (Simiyu) is one of those you don’t have to be worried about because even during the qualifiers he trained with us for a week and got there,” said Ayimba who will be attending his first World Cup as coach.
“He’s an asset to the team. He’s always been training as much as he hasn’t been making the trips and he’s been in the team long enough and played around those guys for a while in order to step it up,” he added.
Mean Machine forward Wilson Kopondo who played in Dubai and George has also been included in the side that will depart for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.
“Kopondo is the best improved player and it is now that he deserves a chance and it is now that he deserves the chance to represent us at the very highest level. We are also grooming players for post world cup because we want to go all the way this season and the world cup will give him the chance to showcase his talent,” said Ayimba.
Allan Onyango has been declared fit for Dubai after sitting out the San Diego leg with a leg injury.
“Allan is a hard worker. He’s the guy who will throw his body into anything and not care what will happen to it. If we played him in America it would have been difficult for him to recover in time but the fortnight out would do much good for his recovery,” said Ayimba.
Kenya Harlequins ace Sidney Ashioya retains his place in the side after making his comeback from injury for the Wellington and San Diego legs and is the only survivour from the team that featured in the last World Cup in Hong Kong.
“Ashioya is a very decent winger, very quick and provides us with a decent chase incase our line is broken,” explained Ayimba who was flanked by Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) director of sevens Sasha Mutai.
The team is scheduled to be granted a reception by President Mwai Kibaki on Friday at Sate House and will depart for Dubai on Sunday afternoon.
Kenya has been grouped in Pool E of the tournament alongside former champions England, Tunisia and Hong Kong.
Humphrey Kayange (captain, Mwamba), Allan Onyango (Kenya Harlequins), Victor Oduor (Mwamba), Ben Nyambu (Nondies), Wilson Kopondo (Mean Machine), Lavin Asego (Mwamba), Biko Adema (Nondies), Innocent Simiyu (Impala), Collins Injera (Mwamba), Sidney Ashioya (Kenya Harlequins), Gibson Weru (vice captain, Nakuru), Horace Otieno (Mwamba)