NAIROBI, September 29 – National women sevens head coach, Mike Shamiah, urged Kenya Rugby Union to put the team on central contract and provide a high performance camp like their male counterparts.
This is to enable the side prepare adequately for a final bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympics at next year’s repchage after missing out on the sole African slot when they lost 31-5 to hosts South Africa in the Main Cup final of the continental qualifiers on Sunday..
Shamiah was speaking on Tuesday when the team returned home from a second failed bid after earlier missing out on the Rio party at the HSBC Women’s Sevens Rugby Series in Ireland.
“If we have the girls on contract and permanently training in a high performance camp it will be ideal. Right now we are struggling with girls being in school and others are working. Former captain Doreen Remour missed the tournament for personal commitments.
“If we had a better way the girls could be taken care of, then we will perform at our best. South Africa were in high performance training for six months. We can’t keep track of our players,” Shamiah, who will call up 21 players for training, decried.
The Lionesses will resume training after two weeks with the head coach hoping to play friendly matches that will help them improve on possession that let them down against South Africa.
Kenya will battle it out for the last remaining ticket to Brazil against Russia, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Venezuela and an Oceania representative but Shamiah believes they have a huge chance of making history by qualifying for the Summer Games since they have beaten those teams before.
“We need to sharpen our structure, attack and moving forward. That will be the main component in training. We need to give the girls more resources and game play because we had no friendlies yet other teams like South Africa and Tunisia test their teams.
“The girls played fantastic rugby. South Africa were a better team but we have learnt and there is time for improvement. In rugby, a mighty team can fall and a small team can win. It wasn’t our day but we came home with second spot in Africa which is a huge thing for us,” the coach outlined.
Skipper, Catherine Abilla who called on corporates to sponsor the team adding hope is not lost.
“South Africa were more experience but moving forward, we know we are going to do better. Everyone wanted the win but we still have the psyche and we hope all goes well. It’s all about passion for the game.
The repchage will determine the 12th and last team for the Olympics to join, hosts Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England (Team GB), Colombia, USA, France, South Africa and the winners of Oceania and Asia regional qualifiers.