Shujaa keen to defend title as Safari Sevens proper kicks-off at Nyayo Stadium for two days
Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu has expressed optimism of Shujaa and Morans shining like diamonds in the year’s Safari Sevens Rugby tournament which kick off at the Nyayo stadium from Saturday morning.
Speaking shortly after naming the two squads that shall do duty, the tactician in particular said he is intent on ensuring that Morans win the title with a new set of players.
“It will be combat using players who have never savoured the stage before and hopefully, they shall prevail on home soil,” said Simiyu ahead of the 12-team competition,’’ intoned Simiyu.
He observed that there are specific areas which the two teams shall be hoping to vanquish their opponents.
“So far so good. I have noticed a lot of improvement in kick off areas, defence systems and the rucks and these are the areas we hope to exploit,” said Simiyu, adding that this will be a grand chance for younger players to prove their worth
“I must say this is a chance for the younger players to showcase what they can do at the international platform moving forward.
Dubai sevens is just around the corner and we will have the seniors back to the team, so this is the turning point for the budding lot,” he quipped.
However, the tacticians said the tournament will not be devoid of challenges from foreign teams.
“I expect Germany, Spain, Stallion 7s and Samurai to give us a run for our money.
Samurai in particular are good ball players and are battle-hardened and when we meet them, it will be an ideal dress rehearsal for us ahead of the Dubai 7’s,” said Simiyu.
Shujaa, who have been under intensive training for the last three weeks, will be skippered by Herman Humwa assisted by Levy Amunga.
Among those in the squad are Bush Mwale and Johnstone Olindi who will be making a return after missing the 2021 World 7s Series.
Five players including Captain Herman Humwa, Levy Amunga, Timothy Mmasi, Alvin Marube and Alvin Otieno maintain their slots in the team.
Morans will be captained by Augustine Lugonzo with Mohammed Omollo the understudy.
Despite having a number of inexperienced players, Morans are touted as the fans favourite due to the extensive fair selection.
Coach Paul Murunga, will be in charge of both Kenya Morans and Chipu, is upbeat of a good show despite the squad being dotted by debutants.
“We have more debutants as compared to previous editions but this should not be a reason not to post the desired results.
The resolve is there amongst players and it’s up to them to demonstrate what they have learned in training,” he said.
Added Murunga: “They (players) should not suffer stage fright and I have advised them to take each match at a time and strike to win to gain confidence ahead of subsequent fixtures,”