NAIROBI, Kenya, September 24 – Eight seasoned players led by celebrated vice-captain and record Kenya international try scorer, Collins Injera, will miss the opening HSBC Sevens World Series in Gold Coast and Safaricom Safari 7s after being axed from the national team.
Mwamba trio of Dennis Ombachi, Horace Otieno and Dan Sikuta, Strathmore Leos Billy Odhiambo, Fly-half Biko Adema, Lunch Bar Quins’ Patrice Agunda, Tony Awour, Michael Wanjala, KCB captain Philip Wamae and Eden Agero are the other seasoned players ruled out of the running for Australia after declining to apply for visas as well as the domestic showpiece.
The established regulars went on strike last week in protest at Kenya Rugby Union’s plans to introduce performance based contracts with the administration wielding the axe in a bold move to shake up the core side.
Fellow regulars; Homeboyz’s Oscar Ayodi, Nakuru’s Oscar Ouma and Quins’ Felix Ayange are ruled out with injuries.
Speaking on Wednesday after the striking regulars were dropped from the national teams for Safaricom 7s distributed across the three sides, Shujaa, Moran and Simba Saba, Union chairman Mwangi Muthee warned the dissenting players they would “Not tolerate indiscipline in the squad,” adding, “Experienced players should lead by example which they failed.”
“All players must know the game is becoming very competitive and nobody can claim monopoly of saying they (players) cannot be challenged, we must give everybody a chance.
“Issues of indiscipline will not be tolerated in any circles of cause I always advocate for dialog between squads, management and technical bench but nobody should negotiate holding a trigger,” the KRU boss declared.
Muthee added they want to give young players a chance to see what they will bring to the team while reiterating the technical bench is finalising performance contacts for players that will be drafted for the forthcoming 2014/15 HSBC World Series that will see the top four teams qualify for 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The proposed performance pegged deals has caused the rift between KRU and the core players who were on central contracts leading to the strike that spilled into the second week, crippling preparation for the upcoming season.
“I pay tribute to the youngsters who are knocking on the door and we are hundred percent behind them, I call upon them to arise and carry the team. We have faith they will perform well at Safaricom 7s.
“As we head towards the Olympics qualifiers, we are going to select a very strong team and very soon we are going to win those legs. There is no player in Kenya who has won that Cup so nobody should paralyze the team,” Muthee added.
The chairman accused the elite players for failing to address their grievances in the right channels, although he maintained every player must undergo scrutiny in having their contacts reviewed.
“We have very many superstars in our team but they must show leadership and be good examples to upcoming players. They should be tolerant and be there to entertain but should not be in the front leading revolt.
“We must go for the performance contract, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the technical bench everybody must be ready to face scrutiny.”
Meanwhile, new call-ups dominated the three Kenyan squads with teenagers Alex Olaba and Billy Isabwa who participated at the Youth Olympics and U-19 Confederation of African Rugby Cup also making the cut.
National team skipper Andrew Amonde will lead the Shujaa side that features Humphrey Mulama of Homeboyz, Quins’ Max Theuri, Strathmore Leo’s duo of Michael Wanjala and Tony Onyango as the notable regulars.
KCB’s pair of Oliver Mang’eni and Jacob Ojee who was named the most valuable player in the local circuit as well as Homeboyz’s Augustine Lugonzo who scooped the most point scorer, are among those making their debuts.
Nakuru RFC eighth man Martin Owila will headline Moran that includes; Western Bulls Davis Chenge, Quin’s Leon Adongo and Leonard Mugaisi while veteran Nato Simiyu from Impala RFC will spearhead Simba Saba.
Head coach Paul Treu said they will use the Safari Sevens to expose the new charges before featuring in the global International Rugby Board sevens tournament.
“The team selected will get it tough this weekend, it will not be a walk in the park because competition will be very stiff bearing in mind there is strong teams like Argentina and Spain.
“We want to put the young players under more pressure to go out there and perform, it will not be easy but we want them to get used to and see if they have potential to progress to the next stage,” Treu stated.
Squads for Kenyan teams
Shujaa: Oliver Mang’eni, Humphrey Mulama, Andrew Amonde, Michael Wanjala, Augustine Lugonzo, Fabian Olando, Jacob Ojee, Max Theuri, Tony Onyango, Alex Olaba, Brian Wandera, Charles Omondi.
Moran: Martin Owila, Bush Mwale, Davis Chenge, Shaban Ahmed, Billy Isabwa, Cyprian Kuto, Leonard Mugaisi, Kennedy Moseti, Ian Minjire, Churchur Ooko, Oscar Dennis, Leon Adongo.
Simba Saba (Chairman’s Select): Charles Onyango (Nakuru RFC), Lamech Dunde, Samson Onsomu, Nato Simiyu (Impala RFC), Elton Isiaho, Adrian Opondo, Samuel Motari (Strathmore Leos), Stafford Abeka, Brian Onjema, Brian Omondi, Kilonzo Peter (KCB), Solomon Obiero (Western Bulls).