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‘Namcos’ unveiled as the KRU board’s choice from a list of four tacticians

By Lynette Matheka
Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
Former Kenya Sevens and 15s team captain Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

Former Kenya Sevens and 15s team captain Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu has made a return as Shujaa head coach.

 Simiyu was yesterday unveiled as the Kenya Rugby Union board’s choice from a list of four tacticians who had been shortlisted for the job that was advertised in May. 

 He will be in charge of the Sevens team for a period of two years where he is expected to guide the team through major competitions including next year’s Olympics Games.

 Simiyu has vowed to get the players ready for the 2020 Olympics by January while advocating for playing rugby ‘the Kenyan way’.  

 “The task ahead is coming up with the best team that can represent the nation. Age is not a factor.

Any player that meets the standards we set in terms of physical, health, technical standards or any other parameters to the game will be considered.

They also have to be able to execute our plan very well,” said Simiyu during his unveiling.

 This is Simiyu’s second stint with the team, having headed Shujaa for two seasons between 2016 and 2017.

He was, however, fired with four months left on his contract following a fiasco during Paris Sevens which he took full responsibility for.

The playing unit blanked out Brand Kenya’s logo in protest of non-payment of Sh100,000 dues owed to each of them which led to cancellation of the deal.

 Paul Murunga replaced Simiyu, serving for a season, before New Zealander Paul Feeney, who left at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, took over.

 In his first stint, Simiyu led Shujaa to an eighth place finish at the HSBC World Sevens Series with a record 104 points, surpassing the century point barrier for the first time ever. In his first season the team was placed 12th with 63 points.

 “We are faced with a difficult situation but we have to plan for the Olympics then start preparing for the next cycle that includes the 2022 World Cup.

I intend to have all the players meet our standards by January so we can perform well at the Summer Games. 

In case we do not get any tournaments out of the country, we have to look for other solutions, like having local competitions organised so as to get the players ready. It is a tough time, but we have the capacity to achieve that,” said Simiyu.

 He added, “I have always advocated for playing the game ‘the Kenyan way’ and I believe in implementing that.

I will look at having players that are agile in attack, adopt fast and execute as that will increase our diversity. My key focus will be pushing for that Kenya way of playing.”

 The tactician gets to choose his backroom staff as per the board policy implemented three years ago.

However, he has to bring on board people who meet some basic criteria, related to experience and qualification from a coaching perspective, and can add value to the team.

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