NAIROBI, Kenya, August 3- The new sevens team coach, Mike Friday has said that he will put his focus on the players conditioning and fitness when he begins duty with the national team.
Friday who was formally unveiled by the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) on Friday, has been contracted by KRU on a two-year deal ending speculation on his appointment.
The former England sevens head coach will be in charge of the selection of a new squad of 25 players made up of 10 in the main line up, a similar number for the second tier and five who will emerge from the under-19 academy to begin their first national assignment at the Safaricom Sevens set for September.
“When I was approached by the Union, it was certainly an opportunity that was hard to resist, all along I used to be impressed by this team when they took to the pitch.
“The potential is immense, the players here are wonderful athletes but they struggle to achieve consistency through the full game which is all about conditioning,” said Friday during a press briefing at the Moi International Sports centre, Kasarani.
He will be assisted by the new technical bench comprising his predecessor Mitch Ocholla, new strength and conditioning coach Chris Brown, Felix Ochieng retained as Performance analyst with Steve Sewe as team manager.
The former tactician of the London Welsh Rugby Club brings his wealth of experience into the team but will have to select the finest from a provisional list of 43 provided by the union that began a four day residential training camp on Thursday.
“When I was coach of England, if there was a team I dreaded playing was Kenya, since when they were in good form, you never know what magic they will pull to your dismay.
“The core skills will be at the forefront of our pre-season program which include the non-negotiable basics of the game like the technical aspects of passing, catching and tackling that most players take for granted,” he confidently expressed.
KRU Chairman Mwangi Muthee said he had confidence in the new bench which he believed will guide the team back to its high ranks after the team performed dismally in the series finishing outside the top ten for the first time in five seasons.
“We are heading into the new season, which is very important for us since it marks the start of promotion and relegation from the series,in addition to Rugby Sevens World Cup taking place in Russia.
“Rugby is now an Olympics sport and our main rivals like USA, Russia and Japan have turned professional hence we are leaving nothing to chance to ensure that the team performs to its optimum,” stressed Muthee pleading for patience among the fans he noted demanded instant results.
In May, the union disbanded the former bench previously led by Ocholla, Charles Cardovillis (assistant coach), John Onyango-Mbai (team manager) and Ochieng (performance analyst) after the conclusion of the 2011/2012 IRB Sevens Series Season.