Rugby Rugby

I am ready for the Shujaa task, says Murunga

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New Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Murunga during a past match with Homeboyz RFC. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Paul Murunga has described it as ‘the best news in the world’ after the Kenya Rugby Union on Friday afternoon confirmed that the Homeboyz RFC tactician has been appointed to coach the national sevens team for a period of two years.

Murunga was a top contender for the job having been among the final shortlist of six coaches interviewed for the job including four foreigners and the Union on Friday confirmed they had picked on Pau mostly based on his prior experience in the team.

“This is the best feeling in the world and I thank God that I have been given this huge responsibility to lead the national team. It is a chance for growth and one of the biggest achievements in my life. I have been there before as an assistant coach but to be given the top job is a huge thing,” Murunga told Capital Sport.

Murunga worked with former boss Benjamin Ayimba who just a fortnight ago tipped him to take over the job saying he was the most qualified.

During that spell, the two guided Kenya to their first ever Main Cup conquest at the World Sevens Series when they made history by beating Fiji to win the Singapore 7s Main Cup title in the 2015/16 season.

-Homeboyz dominating

New Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Murunga during a past match with Homeboyz RFC. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Murunga has proved himself with Homeboyz RFC winning the national sevens circuit twice in three years and this season, he won with a comfortable margin, guiding the team to five finals of the six legs and winning four of them.

And as he prepares to take on the job, the tactician says he is ready for the job.

“I have been there before and I know how the system works. I know the responsibility is big but I am equal to the task. We start with the Africa 7s then Safari 7s and I hope they will give us a good foundation,” Murunga added.

The tactician will work with Mwamba and Kenya Lionesses’ Kevin Wambua as assistant coach while Geoffrey Kimani who was also present when he was assistant two years ago will retain his slot as the strength and conditioning coach.

“This is a strong team. Kevin has done very well with the national women’s team and they are now the best in Africa. If we all bring our experiences together I know we will form a very strong technical bench,” further stated Murunga.

-Building a team

Former Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba (right) with his then assistant Paul Murunga during the 2016 Safari Sevens at the Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He has however noted that his focus will be on building a good team with depth, insisting the team has to bring in fresh and young players who can serve the team for a long period of time.

So far, the Union has not contracted players for the new season though outgoing coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu had called in a squad of 33 which has been whittled down to 21 after the National Sevens Series.

“For me, the most important thing is about building a team for the future. Not even about the immediate accolades or successes. We want to build a big national team with depth instead of depending on a few players year in year out,” Murunga noted.

“It is important to have a huge pool of players who can play consistently at the international level and the good thing is that we have several young and talented players coming through the ranks,” the tactician noted.

His tenure will begin immediately after the Africa Sevens next week and he hopes to travel with the team to Tunisia to pick a few lessons and enable smooth transition from one regime to another.

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