NAIROBI, October 7 – Despite proving their worth when featuring for invitational side Samurai at this year’s Safari Sevens, Oscar Ouma, Felix Ayange and Sammy Oliech will not be considered in the national team preparing for 2016 Africa Olympics qualifiers.
Ouma’s omission has raised eyebrows after he produced sterling performance to steer Samurai to the title but head coach, Benjamin Ayimba says he will only consider the Sri Lanka based forward if he is playing consistently for his club.
“He was not available for selection initially. If he is playing consistently for his club then there is a reason to call him up however, if he is not playing anywhere there is no reason for calling him because the other boys are working very hard in their clubs.
“If he avails himself at his club and we see him do the same, well and good but if he doesn’t its very unfortunate,” Ayimba told Capital Sport.
The former Nakuru RFC utility player last featured for the national team during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games but he had to take a break after going professional with Sri Lanka Super League side, Kandy Sports Club.
Oliech who has had a good stint with the national 15s team and his Impala RFC club, is yet to break through the ranks while Agevi who was a regular last season was overseen by Ayimba who was re-appointed three weeks ago.
“Kenya has always had depth and the Safari Sevens was majorly meant to work for (us) as squad build up and it has done even more because we have been able to pick up players who will win games any time against anyone,” the head coach underlined.
Ayimba, is yet to name his 23-man squad for the 2015-16 Rugby Sevens World Series season that will be contracted by Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) with the November Olympics qualifiers set to be their first assignment in South Africa.
However, Ayimba is yet to settle in the job after his re-appointment was rejected by some board directors who claimed the process was flawed since the he lacked credentials as required in the advertisement.
The directors are said to have preferred Welshman Nick Wakley who was with the Samurai team as an assistant to former Kenya sevens head coach, Mike Friday but KRU boss, Richard Omwela defended Ayimba, who was returning to the side after being fired in 2011.
“It’s something we have talked about. Some directors were not happy with Ayimba’s appointment and we told the coach we want to access him after Safari Sevens and that’s what as the board we want to do.
“It’s not about certificates because he delivered before why didn’t they ask him about certificates? Why is it that they are asking about it now that we are preparing for Olympics qualifiers?” Omwela questioned.
He added, “Shujaa and Morans played well in Safari Sevens so we want to know if we will throw away the baby with water. We will clearer up the air to tell you what plans we have to deliver on the qualifiers but as far as I’m concerned he is the head coach.
The division in the Board has led to the exit of long serving rugby administrator, Michael ‘Tank’ Otieno who is reported to have tendered his resignation as KRU Rugby Services Manager.
Otieno, a former Kenya 15s and sevens head coach cited frustration and interference by the board in the implementation of union programs as the reason behind his quit and is now serving out his notice.
The protract rift in the Board has seen a substantial number of directors and Officers abandon the Union.