NAIROBI, September 7 – Four foreigners are among applicants to fill the vacant national rugby sevens team head coach role even as Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) selectors named an interim squad of 31 players on Monday.
Capital Sport has established a new team manager will be appointed on Thursday after the contract of long-serving Steven Sewe expired end of July to take charge when the squad reports to camp on Saturday to prepare for the upcoming Rio 2016 Africa qualifiers and 2015/16 World Sevens Series.
KRU’s Director for Competitions and Elite Squads, Oscar Mango, confirmed the new boss will be given the discretion of deciding which players to retain or chop from the preliminary team where most seasoned core players were named upon appointment.
Veteran Humphrey Kayange is the highest profile name missing from the team released by the Union that is seeking to put the sevens house in order after a tumultuous season with Felix Ochieng who took over the head coach role last December not expected to return to his post.
“The three panel of selectors who are former coaches, selected the players during the local series starting with Christie 7s to season ending Prinsloo 7s. We had to do this since we don’t have a national coach but whomever will take the job, he will call-up those he needs.
“From next season, the coach will have a free hand in selecting his players. We want to appoint a professional coach and from the 14 who have applied, we are optimistic we will pick the best,” Mango, told.
The new coach will have three weeks to finalise his squad of 23 after the team was disbanded end July when the players’ contract elapsed.
“We will be very strict; they will have to undergo all necessary procedures including medical check-ups. By Thursday we will know whether we will name two Safari Sevens teams but that is up to the coach to decide,” the Director added.
The fate of South Africans assistant coach, Vuyo Zangqa and strength and conditioning coach, Graham Bentz is still uncertain as the Union seeks to appoint its ninth head coach since 1996.
Sewe is among 14 team managers who applied for the job after the post was advertised in August.
The panel of selectors were former Impala RFC head coach Bill Githinji, Emmanuel Okoth and Kirori Mindo.
The notable surprise inclusion in the squad is South Africa Western Province winger, Willy Ambaka, who has rejoined Kenya Harlequins as he seeks a route back to the national fold since 2013 when the team was under Englishman, Mike Friday.
“His club had released him and they were aware when he was in Kenya so he was among those selected from the series. Hope he will be allowed to play for his country,” Mando added.
Mwamba RFC duo of Dennis Ombachi and fly-half, Lavin Asego have been named as standby after they picked knocks from their last 2014/15 IRB World Sevens Series at London 7s.
Andrew Amonde who captained the team in the previous two seasons, lead the 14 seasoned players who were retained with Injera younger sibling Michael Agevi (Mwamba), Michael Wanjala (Strathmore Leos) and Felix Ayange (Kenya Harlequins) among those who were dropped.
Kenya Sevens coaches 1996-2014.
1996-1997; Ham Onsando
1998-2000; Michael ‘Tank’ Otieno
2000-2005; Bill Githinji
2006-2011; Benjamin Ayimba
2011-2012- Mitch Ocholla
2012-2013- Mike Friday
2013-2014; Paul Treu
2014-2015; Felix Ochieng
Kenya Sevens training squad
Tony Owuor (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos), Dan Sikuta (Mwamba), Patrice Agunda (Kenya Harlequin), Bush Mwale (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Andrew Amonde (KCB), Willy Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Biko Adema (Total Nondies), Eden Agero (Kenya Harlequin), Augustine Lugonzo (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Billy Odhiambo (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos),Tony Onyango (Pan Africa Strathmore Leos), Collins Injera (Mwamba), Oscar Ayodi (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Leonard Mugaisi (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Ian Minjire (Resolution Impala Saracens),Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin), Jeff Oluoch (Menengai Cream Homeboyz),David Kivuti (Top Fry Nakuru), Fidel Castro (Kabras Sugar),Philip Kwame (Top Fry Nakuru), Geoffrey Ominde (Top Fry Nakuru), Ken Moseti (KCB), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar), Shaban Ahmed (Mwamba), Donald Oluoch (Top Fry Nakuru), Samuel Motari (Resolution Impala Saracens), Oscar Dennis (Total Nondies), Alvin Otieno (Menengai Cream Homeboyz),Nelson Oyoo (Top Fry Nakuru).
Dennis Ombachi (Mwamba), Lavin Asego (Mwamba)