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Feeney admits Shujaa selection headache

Kenya head coach Paul Feeney talking to Morans captain Jeff Oluoch and Johnstone Olindi during the 2019 Safari Sevens at the RFUEA Grounds. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – After the second string side Kenya Morans won the Safari 7s title on Sunday with a 19-14 victory over South Africa, head coach Paul Feeney has admitted he faces a selection headache ahead of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers and the new World Series season.

The first team, Shujaa, finished third in the tournament after losing to the South Africans in the semis and the youngsters have now proved equal to battle for starting slots in the overall team.

“The young guns came out on top which is fantastic. We want competition for places and now we have seen that we have competition. I prefer if I have a selection headache than none. Any team needs competition to be successful.,” the New Zealander told Capital Sport.

“Players will have to train hard for them to earn a place in the team. I know it will not be easy selecting my final squad for the Olympic qualifiers,” he added.

Among the players who shone in the tournament include scrum half Ian Mabwa who was named in the team of the tournament, Alvin Otieno, Johnstone Olindi and skipper Jeff Oluoch.

Shujaa players lift the third place trophy at the 2019 Safari Sevens at the RFUEA Grounds. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Feeney however says he was proud of the performance of the two sides.

“I am really proud of the two teams. We learnt a lot from the two days. It was about building for the Olympic qualifiers but also winning on home soil. We had two good teams and they had trained and prepared well for this,” Feeney stated.

The tactician now says he will put the team through work over the coming two weeks before he comes up with his final team that travels to the Olympic qualification tournament in South Africa, and ultimately the new World Sevens Series season.

“We have lots to improve on; we need to work on our line outs, fitness levels, our structures.. But, to win and then still have lots to work on is always good for the coach,” the tactician added.

Meanwhile, he hopes that star player Collins Injera will be available for the coming three weeks of training after picking up a shoulder injury during the quarter final win over Samurai on Sunday.

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Shujaa’s Collins Injera in action during the 2019 Safari Sevens at the RFUEA Grounds. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“There is no fracture and in the next few days we will do an MRI. Hopefully he hasn’t torn anything, fingers crossed he will be alright. We saw how much Shujaa missed Collins when he didn’t play in the semis,” Feeney stated.

He believes the good performance at the Safari 7s will be morale booster as they head out to the Olympic qualifiers.

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