NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 06 – Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu says the high performance tournament the team will take part in in Madrid, Spain will be vital to launch Shujaa’s road to the Tokyo Olympics.
The national men’s and women’s sevens teams have been invited for the tournament that will involve 12 teams, seven of them being from the World Series to be staged at the end of this month.
“It is quite a competitive tournament and it will be a good place to gauge where we are. We believe the players will give their best and this will be good for us for a start as we look on to the Olympics and the World Series,” stated the tactician.
This will be Shujaa and Simiyu’s first assignment since March last year when the Coronavirus swept away the entire sporting calendar.
The team resumed training in November, adhering to World Health Organization and government directives and SImiyu has admitted it has not been an easy time in training.
“It has been very challenging especially mentally. Getting tested every week is not an easy thing and also ensuring that you follow all those protocols. We started with non-contact training and gradually progressed. We have also been working in groups and it has been very difficult also for management because sometimes we have to do up to four similar sessions a day,” the tactician stated.
With a second appearance at the Olympics in the offing, the Spain tournament offers Simiyu a perfect opportunity to put his team in order and have a base to start from.
“Heading to Spain, the key thing for us is to try get match fitness for the players. We have worked for three months on conditioning and upscaling them and now we want to try get match fitness. We will also try to get our structure going in terms of attack and defensive structures and also assess the tactical awareness of the players and where we sit vis a vis the other guys in the series,” stated the coach.
Simiyu has named a 15-man squad for the tournament in Madrid and says all players selected were deemed the best currently.
“It was not possible to have all 30 players in training and we have some who have been training remotely. The ones who were training in house were the ones who were able to commit and adhere to the selection criteria. They have consistently trained hard and I believe they are the best to represent the country now,” Simiyu notes.
The team to Spain will be co-captained by Nelson Oyoo and Herman Humwa.
Shujaa squad to Spain
Nelson Oyoo (Co-Captain), Herman Humwa (Co-captain), Alvin Otieno, Andrew Amonde, Harold Anduvate, Vincent Onyala, Willy Ambaka, Daniel Taabu, Johnstone Olindi, Mark Kwemoi, Tony Omondi, Billy Odhiambo, Derrick Keyoga, Jacob Ojee, Jeff Oluoch.