NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1- The National Rugby 15s team last weekend took part in a team building exercise at the Shaba Sarova Lodge at the Shaba Game reserve, in preparation for the African Confederation of Rugby trophy to be held in Morocco.
Head Coach Michael “Tank” Otieno said the exercise dubbed ‘Survivor Challenge’ was timely as the team had hardly assembled this year given the numerous tournaments that have been held.
“We have not been together for a long time. We have had the Junior World Rugby Trophy, Bamburi Super Series and the Tusker Safari Sevens going down and we have not really had an opportunity be together as a squad,” said Otieno.
The former Kenya fullback said the challenged helped the team exhibit leadership and teamwork qualities that would be otherwise difficult to express during training.
“When we are out on the pitch we tend to focus more on skill aspects of the game and people forget that their also leadership, communication and team work needed in creating a winning side,” said Otieno.
Although the whole team was not present during the challenge, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) was happy with what he had seen from the players who took part in the exercise.
Assistant coach Edward Kinyany expressed optimism the team would be ultra competitive going forward going by what he had witnessed from the boys.
“At times game plans may not go according to plan and from the different challenges through to the boys they should they could hurdle together and shake things up as the pattern changes,” said Kinyany.
Team manager Wangila “The Hitman” Simiyu said conditions in the region were ideal as they were similar to the weather in Morocco.
He said he was grateful for the exercise as it brought the team closer together and the experience would only make them a formidable force in the upcoming tournament.
“The boys have learnt to work as a team as opposed to individual and they learnt to trust one another. That can only serve as a good platform ahead of the tournament,” said Simiyu.
The three day challenge included lighting fire with sticks and elephant dung, rock climbing, treasure hunts and several other activities that required a lot of team work and coordination.
The last day was taken up by corporate social responsibility exercises where the team visited the Daab primary school.
The squad donated rugby balls, planted tress and painted some buildings in the school while the Sarova Shaba management donated food to the school.
Simiyu said the experience opened up the boys to the harsh realities of the world and taught them to appreciate what they had.
The team is set to be announced on Thursday with a few players from the under- 20 squad set to join the team. Players like Patrice Agunda, Ken Isindu and Peter Keffa have shown enough to the selectors to warrant inclusion into the senior squad.
“All these youngsters are here on merit. They have been playing brilliantly this whole year and this is just reward for al their hard work,” said Kinyany
The team leaves for Casablanca on Sunday.