NAIROBI, November 27 – Former Sri Lanka based winger, Oscar Ouma makes a comeback to the Kenya Sevens team ahead of the HSBC Sevens World Series opener in Dubai 7s on the weekend of December 4 and 5.
Also returning to the Worlds Series tour is Kenya Harlequin winger, Willy Ambaka who is included in Benjami Ayimba’s squad that features debutants; Robert Aringo (Impala RFC), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru RFC), Jaffrey Oluoch (Homeboyz) and Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin).
Ayimba made four changes from the squad that won the African Olympics qualifiers slot with Dennis Ombachi who grounded the last gasp try against Zimbabwe that guaranteed Kenya a ticket to the 2016 Summer Games, ruled out of the first two legs as he will be graduating from college.
The team will miss the services of Skipper, Andrew Amonde who is bereaved after the death of his sister while Kenya Harlequin fly half Eden Agero and Oscar Ouma were relegated to the not travelling reserves.
With Kenya drawn in a tough Pool D against England, Australia and Wales, Ayimba is confident his charges will make it through to the Main Cup quarters.
“The toughness of the pool is very relative because we base it on how they played last season so the best we can do is to take our A game to the field and I’m sure with the squad that we have, if we put our best foot forward we should be able to come through that pool but it’s not going to be easy.
“Once we get to the quarters, it’s anyone’s game and I believe the quality of players we have we can reach the semis. Expect to see the flair from the Kenyans so no restrictions about how far the players can go in terms of playing their hearts out but still being able to play within the teams systems,” Ayimba said when announcing the 12-man travelling party on Friday.
Ouma who missed out the Africa Olympics qualifying trip to South Africa returns to the World Series for the first time after spending a season out to turn out for Sri Lanka’s Kandy Sports Club.
“We had agreed we are going to do rotation to give everybody a chance and with the unavailability of some of the players, it gives us the opportunity to expose players who have been up to the task.
“Oscar (Ouma) is fit and ready now while Aringo has always needed a chance for the last three seasons. We think he is a good player but has never been given a chance. They are the kind of players who can win you games so we are confident whatever the two will bring to the team is valuable,” the head coach explained.
Former captain and veteran, Humphrey Kayange is still sidelined for another eight weeks with Ayimba expecting him to be available for selection for the Wellington and Sydney legs.
The team that will be captained by Kenya’s all -time record try scorer, Collins Injera, will depart on Monday.
Collins Injera (Captain), Biko Adema, Willy Ambaka, Oscar Ouma, Billy Odhiambo, Leonard Mugaisi, Augustine Lugonzo, Bush Mwale, Frank Wanyama, Jeff Oluoch, Robert Aringo, Nelson Oyoo.
Non travelling reserves: Eden Agero, Oscar Ayodi, Oscar Dennis
Kenya Lioness head coach, Mike Shamiah also named his squad for the Dubai Sevens International tournament.
Kenya Harlequin’s Cynthia Camilla is the only new inclusion to replace Sinaida Aura who is rehabilitating from a knock picked during the African Olympics qualifiers in South Africa in late September.
“We have quality opposition in our pool in the likes of Great Britain Select and Colombia. This tournament will be a good build up in our preparation for the Olympics repchage and we intend to put our best foot forward in Dubai,” Shamiah declared.
The team will contest Pool C in the upcoming tournament that alongside Colombia, Great Britain Select and Japan.
Cynthia Camilla, Camilyne Oywayo, Rachel Mbogo, Sheila Chajira, Janet Awino, Celestine Masinde, Catherine Abila(Captain), Laventa Oguta, Irene Auma, Philadelphia Olando, Janet Okello, Linet Moraa