NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Paul Murunga of Homeboyz RFC was on Friday appointed the Kenya Sevens head coach on a two-year contract ahead of the 2018/19 season, replacing Innocent Simiyu, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) announced.
Murunga who beat a list of six applicants which included four foreign coaches returns to the national team set up this time as the head coach having assisted Benjamin Ayimba during the 2015/2016 season when they won the first ever World Sevens Series Main Cup title in Singapore.
“We had a shortlist of six coaches; four foreigners and two locals. Murunga’s experience in the team before is what stood out. His ability to handle a team locally and internationally is what sold us. He was Ayimba’s assistant and that’s when Kenya was the most successful having won Singapore and got to the Olympics,” Kenya Rugby Union
Murunga who led Homeboyz to five of six finals in the just concluded National Sevens Series winning four of them will be assisted by Kenya Lionesses’boss Kevin ‘Bling’ Wambua who will also retain his slot as the Kenya Lionesses head coach, though up to January.
““We acknowledge Kevin has had a great input in the Lionesses team and he will handle them at the Dubai Sevens as well. The men’s and women’s games will be played in different days so he will not be disadvantaged,” Kamau explained.
“We will let him work with the Lionesses for now and in January we will make our assessment and see whether we need a new coach for the Lionesses or he will still be able to double up,” she further explained.
Wambua also did well with his club Mwamba in the national series where they finished second, a massive improvement from last season when they struggled.
The Union is however yet to settle on a new Team Manager but Geoffrey Kimani and Lameck Bogonko will retain their slots as strength and conditioning coach as well as physiotherapist respectively.
The new technical bench is expected to take charge of the team immediately after next week’s Africa Sevens in Tunisia which will be outgoing boss Innocent Simiyu’s final task in his two year stay as the team’s head coach.
At the same time, the Union says it will contract players for the 2018/2019 season after the Africa 7s.
“We will wait for the new technical team to give us their preferred names for the new season and then we will move to contract them,” Kamau explained.
-World Cup qualification
At the same time, the Union has only set a target of qualification to the World Cup for the new team, though they are scheduled to have a different meeting to set targets for the new World Sevens Series season.
Murunga has a huge task ahead of him with a target of surpassing the 1-2-point mark set by his predecessor Simiyu in the World Series.
His first task in charge will be at the Safari Sevens in November where Kenya is set to field two teams; the Shujaa and the Morans. A total of eight teams out of a targeted 12 have already confirmed participation in the tournament.
The coach is expected to use the Safari Sevens to fine-tune his squad ahead of the first stop of the World Series in Dubai on November 30.