NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The last time Kenya Sevens team came close to achieving their 100 points target at the HSBC Sevens World Series was during the era of Mike Friday in 2013, but center Oscar Ayodi believes they will attain it this season.
During that season of 2012-13, Englishman Friday guided Shujaa to a fifth place after collecting 99 points, Kenya’s highest ever to date, but with current head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu heading for his second season in charge, focus will be on him as he looks to improve a disappointing 12th place finish of 63 points the team picked.
Ayodi will captain the team in the absence of Andrew Amonde who is on rehabilitation, and the Homeboyz RFC center is positive the team will start on a high at the opening two legs in Dubai and Cape Town 7s since they have had a resourceful 14 weeks pre-season.
“We have been practicing for the past three months and the boys are confident of a good performance in Dubai and Cape Town because we have had a good pre-season. We are looking forward to a good performance since the team has been conditioned well under the new Strength and Conditioning coach,” Ayodi said after the team’s morning session at the RFUEA Ground on Tuesday.
“We have always had a target of 100 points which we have never attained, so we want to tick the right boxes first then we can set other targets. With the training that we have had, we will achieve those 100 points this season,” the 28-year-old believed.
The team will have a blend of youth and experience after some talent were discovered from the 2017 National Sevens Series including Menengai Oilers’ Harold Anduvati who is part of the 20 players that trained with the national team.
Ayodi has faith the introduction of the new players will not only make the work of head coach in selecting the travelling squad of 12 difficult, but will also increase the competition within the team.
“The competition is high in the team; we have very good players joining the national team from the competitive Circuit. They have made the experience players up their game so that they maintain their places,” Ayodi reveled.
Unlike in the past years where the pre-season was marred by drama of players not being paid their dues or signed contracts, Ayodi confirmed everything is up to scratch and the team is good to go and post positive results.
“This time everything is okey…we have to appreciate the Union this time, payment has been on time as well as the allowances so the ball is on our court. We have to live by our standards now that they (KRU) have done their bit,” Ayodi assured.
He added; “This time there has been less drama because we usually start with the push and pull, no payments but this time everything has been smooth. The boys have been in camp training for 14 weeks so everyone is confident about himself.”
The team had a 10-day high altitude training camp in Nanyuki before a select side that was led by Ayodi went to Safland Sevens in Namibia where they won the title.
In Dubai, Kenya are drawn in a tricky Pool A against South Africa, Canada and neighbors Uganda.