NAIROBI, March 30 – After impressing in Dubai and Cape Town 7s, Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba has recalled Kenya Harlequin center Frank Wanyama and Nakuru RFC winger Nelson Oyoo for the seventh and eighth legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series slated for early April.
Also making a comeback is Impala Saracens Scrum Half Robert Aringo while Homeboyz winger Alvin Otieno has been handed his debut in the 12-man travelling party named Wednesday.
The four upcoming players replace injured Dennis Ombachi, Billy Odhiambo, Oscar Ouma and Leonard Muigasi, who is out for the rest of the season after undergoing a wrist surgery.
New comer at Las Vegas and Vancouver legs where he grounded three tries, Sammy Oliech was retained in the squad that departs Sunday for Hong Kong where Kenya is drawn in a tricky Pool A alongside power house New Zealand, Samoa and France.
Ayimba is confident the young players will step up to the challenge as he continues to build his squad for the Olympic Games scheduled for Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in August.
“The youngsters usually do better in the World Series and we are expecting the upcoming players we have selected to give us the flair we need. Alvin is an exciting player, he has speed and agility so we are hoping alongside Wanyama, Oyoo and Oliech they will bring enthusiasm compared to the more composed older players,” Ayimba underscored.
“Ouma’s injury is not serious it’s only that we don’t want to aggravate it further. He can play in this trip but we are looking at controlling it because we have bigger things like Olympics coming through,” the coach explained.
Shujaa will meet familiar foes in Hong Kong’s the preliminary round but Ayimba, who enters the tournament from a disappointing tour in Vancouver, is positive his charges will bounce back and return to winning ways.
“The World Rugby is becoming more competitive, you saw we lost to Russia in Canada. Everybody is going to the extra mile to make their teams better being an Olympic year. We are in a tough pool since New Zealand will come at us hard because we beat them in Las Vegas while we have not gotten the formula to beat France. Samoa are not pushovers either as they beat us in Vancouver, but we will do our best to get out of that pool,” Ayimba outlined.
The Hong Kong leg will take place from April 8-10, a week before Singapore hosts their inaugural tournament.
At the same, the Kenya Lioness squad for invitational Hong Kong tournament was unveiled by head coach Mike Shamiah with skipper Doreen Remour returning to the team for the first time since featuring in the World Series qualifier in Durban last August.
Squad to Hong Kong and Singapore:
Andrew Amonde (KCB, Captain), Collins Injera, Humphrey Kayange (Mwamba), Augustine Lugonzo, Oscar Ayodi, Alvin Otieno (Homeboyz), Biko Adema (Nondescripts), William Ambaka, Frank wanyama (Kenya Harlequin), Samuel Oliech, Robert Aringo (Impala Saracens), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru RFC).
Non travelling reserves: Samuel Motari (Impala Saracens), Alex Olaba (Starthmore Leos)