- Simiyu has at his disposal the finest crop of Kenyan sevens players seen in recent times. A mix of the exciting new and the tried and tested.
- After the fifth tournament in Las Vegas last weekend, the exact midway point in the 2016/2017 season, there is precious little for Kenya’s global fan-base to celebrate.
As Kenya’s sevens rugby team continues to under-perform on the IRB World Sevens Series, tough questions need to be asked about the competencies of the technical bench.
Headed by Innocent Simiyu, 34, it does not require too much thinking to see that at the rate Kenya are playing, a season that promised so much at the onset is going to be a huge disappointment.
Simiyu has at his disposal the finest crop of Kenyan sevens players seen in recent times. A mix of the exciting new and the tried and tested.
On their day, the likes of Brian Tanga, Nelson Oyoo, Oscar Ouma, Billy Odhiambo, Andrew Amonde, Collins Injera and Willy Ambaka can hold their own against the world’s best.
After the fifth tournament in Las Vegas last weekend, the exact midway point in the 2016/2017 season, there is precious little for Kenya’s global fan-base to celebrate.
Kenya has 35 series points while leaders South Africa are on 107. At this stage in the 2015/16 season, under previous coach Benjamin Ayimba, Kenya had 52 series points. Kenya’s all-time season’s best was 99 under Englishman Mike Friday, at the end of the 2012 season.
Under Ayimba last season, Kenya ended up with 98 points, after 10 tournaments.
On more than one occasion this season, Kenya has led some of the big guns, only to capitulate later in the match.
For example, last weekend in Las Vegas, Kenya led New Zealand 14-7 at the break and eventually lost 24-14, perhaps proof that the talent exists but with questions raised about the technical input during the match.
By way of comparison, the USA “Eagles” were down and seemingly buried 19-5 in their Main Cup quarters against Argentina in Las Vegas. USA coach Mike Friday, the former Kenya coach, then introduced Maka Unufe in the second half, with Unufe scoring two tries and creating a third for the final 24-19 USA win over the South American “Pumas.”