NAIROBI, Kenya, April 7 – National rugby sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba is delighted with the way his team has developed over the past three years.Kenya reached the final of an International Rugby Board (IRB) sevens series leg in Adelaide a feat which Ayimba says was the product of sheer hard work and determination.
“I said it three years ago that at this point we will be in a final,’ said Ayimba after the team’s arrival from Adelaide on Tuesday.
“The team has definitely come of age because everything that we had worked on clicked in Adelaide,’ he added.
Kenya lost 26-7 to current series leaders South Africa in the main cup semi final in Adelaide and reached the main cup semi final in Hong Kong where they lost to eventual champions Fiji.
Coach Benjamin Ayimba was full of praise for his charges. “We have shown that Kenya can be competitive. It was a tough way to the top. We have been to the semi finals and wanted to go t the next level and what a better place to do it than in Adelaide and on a Palm Sunday.
Humphrey Kayange, the captain echoed Ayimba’s words.
“Nothing can explain how we feel. It has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice to reach the top. We have only two tournaments and still dream of being champions either in England or Edinburgh. The support in Adelaide is always special and the players were fired up for a podium finish. Our biggest challenge is to maintain but nothing will ever take the Adelaide final experience away from the players, fans and everybody, “ said Kayange.
Kenya still lies sixth on the IRB sevens series standings but with an increased points tally of 58 points.
The team now has two week break before they resume preparations for the London and Edinburgh legs next month.
Ayimba believes that his team will benefit psychologically from the performance in the last tour in readiness for the next month’s London and Edinburgh legs.
“Our psychology now is up there. What we need to work on now is how to play in a final if we do get there. Its going to be tough but we are going to work on it,” said Ayimba.
Ayimba pointed out defence as their Achilles heel over the last tour and that it would be addressed before the final two legs.
A rousing welcome met the team at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with a welcoming party that included Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch, Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) chairman Richard Omwela and other union officials, families and friends.
The squad: Humphrey Kayange (captain), Collins Injera, Lavin Asego, Horace Otieno, Victor Oduor (Mwamba RFC), Benedict Nyambu (Nondescripts RUFC), Wilson Kopondo (Mean Machine), Joshua Gathumbi (Strathmore University), Allan Onyango, Sidney Ashioya (Kenya Harlequin RUFC), Innocent Simiyu (Impala RFC) and Gibson Weru (vice-captain, Nakuru RFC).