NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23- For the first time, the national rugby sevens team will have Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) facilities monitoring its performance.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has partnered with service provider Gammin to roll out the system that will allow coaches to make calls on players by using data availed by their performances in matches and training.
This emerged on Wednesday during the naming of the squad for the next two legs of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Wellington, New Zealand and Las Vegas as the competition reaches its mid way mark with Kenya lying sixth on the log.
“We will start using the GPS systems as early as next week. The units are already in the country and we will start with ten units to monitor ten core players including the seven on the pitch.
“The system helps in monitoring the heart and work rate of the player. We will be able to make decisions in an informed way such as during substitutions. We will know whether the player is tired or is not training since we can monitor a player every day,” Philip Jalango, the national team’s elite performance official at KRU explained.
Team captain, Andrew Amonde, hailed the introduction of the satellite system saying it would help in evaluating the players’ output.
“They will enhance the performance of our players and help the management in building better players. We are looking forward to see the positive things they will bring to our team and we welcome them,” the skipper added.
Amonde will lead out the team to New Zealand and Las Vegas that sees Michael Wanjala, who missed out on the Port Elizabeth party back to the team with former skipper, Sydney Ashioya among the non travelling reserves.
“Ashioya got injured in the last tour but he has recovered fully and getting back to fitness. Wanjala was unavailable from the last tour due to exams and Fabian Olando is back as well.
“The most important thing to understand is that the changes are positional and we are looking at the combinations to work through. Non-travelling reserves are crucial because it’s a crucial time and there is a short turn around between New Zealand and Las Vegas and Hong Kong and Japan,” Felix Ochieng, the assistant coach and analyst who named the squad outlined.
“For the upcoming tour, we are looking at players who can play in more than one position and understand those positions to come up with the desired results,” the tactician added.
With Kenya seeking to bounce back after their early momentum in Adelaide and Dubai was halted at Port Elizabeth, the team pledged to find their way back to the top.
“We are sixth in the log and every team has seen what we are capable of and they want to beat us. It is for us to protect what we have and build up on that.
“The midway of the season is usually the hardest part because teams are looking to move at the table and teams at the top are looking to maintain. The points you get here will give you the cement ahead of the last three tournaments.
“We want to go better than last, we have already made two semi finals and our aim is first to get out of the group and perform well from the semis,” Ochieng underscored.
“What happened in South Africa was a big lesson to the players that took a lot away from us. We can’t live by looking at the mistakes that happened, we have to on and we have worked on what we want to do as a team and to correct our mistakes.
“I ask our fans to be behind us and the biggest inspiration is to go out and win. As players, we have set our minds to go out there and do the best to our level,” Amonde added.
The team management announced they had put contingency plans in place to reduce effects of jet lag for the team that departs for New Zealand on Friday for the leg that opens a day later where Kenya have been pooled alongside France, Argentina and Tonga.
“We must always been on our guard and we must always be on top of our game. In Australia and Dubai we did well but the World Series is ruthless and competitive and in Port Elizabeth we had our wake up call.
“If you sink in your laurels, you will sink and the captain is a man of action and we expect better results in Wellington and Las Vegas,” KRU chair, Mwangi Muthee urged.
WELLINGTON/LAS VEGAS SQUAD
Squad to Wellington and Las Vegas
Andrew Amonde (KCB RFC, Captain), Oscar Ouma (Menengai Oil Nakuru), Davis Chenge (Western Bulls), Oscar Ayodi (Homeboyz RFC), Philip Wamae (KCB), Horace Otieno (Mwamba RFC), Fabian Olando (KCB RFC), Michael Wanjala (Strathmore Leos), Biko Adema (Total Nondies), William Ambaka (Lunch Bar Quins), Collins Injera, Dennis Ombachi (Mwamba RFC).
Non Travelling Reserves: Sidney Ashioya, Patrice Agunda (Lunch Bar Quins), Billy Lamech Odhiambo (Strathmore Leos)
Management: Mike Friday (Head Coach), Felix Ochieng (Assistant Coach & Analyst), Chris Brown (Strength and Conditioning Coach), George Odhiambo (Physiotherapist), Steve Sewe (Team Manager)