NAIROBI, January 18 – After missing the opening two legs of the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens World Series, veteran Humphrey Kayange will be available for selection when Kenya 7s head coach Benjamin Ayimba names his 12-man squad for Wellington and Sydney rounds.
Kayange who last featured in the team in May when Shujaa won Bowl at London 7s under the then coach Felix ‘Totti’ Ochieng, has been racing against time to find back his fitness that will see him play under Ayimba for the first time since the tactician’s re-appointment in September last year.
Ayimba who is looking to make at least four changes from the squad that finished fourth in Cape Town told Capital Sport the former skipper has recovered and will be available for consideration for the two legs that begin with Wellington on the weekend of January 30-31 before travelling to Sydney a week later.
“Kayange is recovering well and his response in training has been commendable. He will be available for selection. I will not make many changes, maybe two but there is a new surprise that many don’t expect.
“It’s a good squad that we have put together considering we don’t have injuries thanks to the good job that our strength and conditioning coach, Geoffrey Kimani has done,” Ayimba revealed.
Kayange was upbeat to regain his top form that saw him return to the sport in March last year at Hong Kong 7s after being sidelined for three months to undergo a ligament surgery following an injury he picked in Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July, 2014.
“I’m much better in terms of recovery because I have played some matches in the Kenya Cup and sevens circuit and I think my body is responding well, I’m trying to see if I will regain my top form back.
“The shift results from Dubai to Cape Town were unbelievable and that shows the potential in the team. Change of mentality made the boys achieve great performance in South Africa. The young guys are coming up well and in the next two or three seasons they will be the guys tearing apart the sevens circuit,” Kayange the elder brother to Kenya’s all-time try scorer Collins Injera, underscored.
Kenya is pooled in a relatively fair Group D alongside Canada, Australia and Portugal but Ayimba pointed out they will not down play any team as they look on to reaching the Main Cup semi-finals.
“The plan is to continue where we left and I think we have a good chance to top our pool that is favourable although there is no easier team,” Ayimba stated.
Kayange who grounded three tries in four tournaments last year (Hong Kong, Tokyo, Glasgow and London) exuded confidence on the team that will be selected.
“We don’t want to underestimate anyone. Our focus is in the opening match against Canada where it will be good if we began on a high.
“To the team that will be named they know what work they have to do. We are in a tricky pool but we are capable of qualifying to the Cup quarters,” Kayange said.
Among influential players expected back are skipper Andrew Amonde who missed South Africa trip after he was bereaved and Africa Olympics qualifiers hero, winger Dennis Ombachi who was unavailable since he was graduating from college.
The team is scheduled to depart for New Zealand on Sunday (January 24).