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Feeney confident in Olympic hunting squad

Kenya Rugby Union Technical Director Paul Feeney leads Kenua Sevens players in training. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – Kenya Sevens Technical Director Paul Feeney says he is confident in the team of 12 he named on Friday morning to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa in search of a second consecutive ticket to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

Andrew Amonde will skipper the team and assisted by Jacob Ojee who took over captaincy duties for most part of last season when the seniors kept away from the squad.

Billy Odhiambo has earned his spot in the team as well as Willy Ambaka who was part of the Shujaa squad that clinched bronze at the Safari Sevens a fortnight ago.

“We picked players based on form and more especially the performance at the Safari Sevens. I am very fortunate to have some experienced players in the squad and what they bring into the team. We also have the enthusiasm of the youngsters which makes the squad exciting,” Feeney stated.

“Everyone has earned their place in the team. I am glad to have Billy in because we could not have him for Safari Sevens due to the advice of the physio. But now in training he has shown the hunger and physicality which we need and has been very impressive,” stated the tactician.

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

The team will however miss the services of Collins Injera who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury he picked up at the Safari, but Feeney hopes he will be available for the season opening Dubai Sevens next month.

The tactician looks forward to the Olympic qualifiers and admits he expects a tough outing, but says he will look for motivation from the performance of both Shujaa and Morans at the Safari Sevens.

“We can’t afford to underrate anyone and we need to take every game seriously. We saw some of the teams at Safari Sevens like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda and we know what they can do. But we go there with an ambition to do well and win,” the New Zealander stated.

His sentiments were shared by skipper Amonde who has called on his mates to give their all in South Africa.

“Every team is tough and they have been preparing just as much as we have been preparing also. We will take each match at a time and try focus on ourselves and what we can do well. We have to work hard to earn our place in Tokyo,” Amonde added.

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Shujaa skipper Andrew Amonde during a past training session. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The team has been training in Nairobi for the last six weeks and are scheduled to depart for South Africa next week.

The Olympic qualification tournament, which also doubles up as the Africa 7s features a total of 14 teams that are ranked as per last year’s results.

Kenya is second after falling to Zimbabwe in the final held in Tunisia. Other teams are: Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Shujaa start their campaign against Ivory Coast in the opening day of the tournament.

Shujaa squad

1. Andrew Amonde (c) 2. Willy Ambaka 3. Alvin Otieno 4. Bush Mwale 5. Vincent Onyala 6. Daniel Taabu 7. Johnstone Olindi 8. Oscar Dennis 9. Billy Odhiambo 10. Nelson Oyoo 11. Jeffrey Oluoch (vc) 12. Jacob Ojee (vc)

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