NAIROBI, January 12 – After silencing critics with a breathtaking performance in Cape Town 7s, Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba faces the toughest task of maintaining the tempo when the HSBC Sevens World Series enters the third round in Wellington.
Kenya who finished fourth at the newly introduced Cape Town 7s a month ago will be looking to finish top of their Pool D when they take on Australia, Canada and Portugal on the weekend of January 29.
However, with the teams expected to enter the tournament knowing what to expect from Shujaa, Ayimba underscored his charges are under no pressure to uphold consistency and that only positive results will prove doubters wrong.
“There is no pressure. We will grow as we had intended because we have our targets that we will meet at our own pace so we don’t have cooked victory or half cooked plans. We are building for Olympics and this is part of the growth.
“Our initial plan is to try and top the Pool. It will be exiting to top our pools as many times as possible this season but of course we have teams that are very tough, teams that on any day would beat us,” Ayimba declared when conducting training.
The team was boosted by the availability of skipper, Andrew Amonde and Africa Olympics qualifier hero, Dennis Ombachi who both missed the second leg in South Africa due to unavoidable circumstances.
The presence of the duo will necessitate the head coach to make changes in a bid to formulate a strong squad that will compete in Wellington and Australia.
“We intend to make minimal adjustments as we head to the back to back two legs. We are having full house so we will make tactical changes than looking at on form players. We don’t have fresh injuries apart from Augustine Lugonzo who is recovering well,” Ayimba stated.
Kenya Rugby Union is yet to contract the players who were promised to get the new deals in November, but Ayimba drew positive out of it outlining that it will not affect their input in the field.
Title sponsors Kenya Airways up until now have not renewed their package but the Union boss, Richard Owela was upbeat the deal will be sealed soon.
“We are not on contract because nothing has been signed by any sponsor so for now we are just concentrating to getting the job done.
“We are waiting for the Board to give us an okay on what contracts to sign but we have expressed to the Union what we expect and require. As we do the job of pushing for the contract, we do the job of trying to perform well,” Ayimba explained.
He added, “With the situation that we have been in the past, we can’t really demand much but what we can do is to make sure we have good results for us to attract those guys who have been having doubt in supporting the team.”
After two rounds, Kenya are ninth in the standings on 20 points.