NAIROBI, March 7 – Veteran star and former national sevens team skipper Humphrey Kayange is racing against time for fitness as he eyes the sixth and seventh World Sevens Series legs in Hong Kong and Japan for his comeback to the squad.
Kayange, who has been out of action for seven months after undergoing an ankle surgery for an injury picked from Glasgow Commonwealth Games last July, told Capital Sport he is still under rehabilitation but will know his fate after a fitness test next week.
“I’m just taking a step at a time of course there are few tournaments coming up and if I’m able to play, I will try train hard to be part of it but if no, I will continue working on my rehab and see when I will be fit and ready.
“The boys have done well without me and it will be positive if I get back but the young players have got their footing right and the older players are doing their bit right, so it’s a team effort and we want everybody to be 100 percent when we hit the games,” Kayange who last featured in the team May last year underscored.
With the team that registered poor performance in the opening three rounds in Gold Coast, Dubai and Port Elizabeth out of the automatic 2016 Olympic Games qualification, Kayange said focus is on finishing the season on a high before turning attention to regional qualifiers.
However, the 33-year-old Mwamba RFC centre who was in the squad that missed this year’s Rugby World Cup by a whisker after Zimbabwe shattered their dream said the team cannot afford to miss Rio de Janeiro Summer Games that welcome the shorter version of the game for the first time since 1924.
“We are moving in the right direction and I think the boys will work hard to better Wellington and Las Vegas performance. We want to finish where Kenya usually finishes so we will give it a strong push in the remaining four tournaments to see that we move from the bottom.
“At the Africa qualifiers, we will be worried by the usual Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tunisia but its 7s if you wake up on the wrong side and don’t start the game with focus any team can win. This is the last chance that we have and we have to use it well,” Kayange who completed his masters in Biochemistry at UK’s Bristol University stated.
Felix Ochieng’ charges face a tough Pool D that features former Kenya’s head coach Mike Friday’s USA, England and Wales with Kayange saying they will take one match at a time.
“There is no easy pool in the circuit and the sad reality is that we will be facing top teams but we will give it our best. We have played USA before and they beat us so it will be time for the boys to get one back.”
-Kenya Cup loss-
Meanwhile, after seeing his team Mwamba fail to make it for the Kenya Cup play-off after finishing fifth, disappointed Kayange said they are now rebuilding for Enterprise Cup.
“We gave it a good push this year unfortunately we didn’t make it; we will give it a go again next year.The players are demoralized but we have to focus on the next Cup,” Kayange who on Thursday received Sh470,679 (USD5,166) compensation by UAP for injury incurred at last year’s Commonwealth Games said.
“It’s sad I had to undergo an ankle ligament surgery with my money but I’m happy to get compensated; I feel relieved.”