Kenya 7s hurdle at Vancouver 7s. Photo Courtesy/KLC Photos

Simiyu on player selection and plans ahead of Kenya 7s’ second stint


Kenya 7s Head Coach Innocent Simiyu believes that the team is a powerhouse in terms of rugby and both the senior and young players have the right potential to help the team compete effectively against top sides.

Simiyu returns to lead the team at a time when there have been calls for new blood to be introduced in the team following the 2019/20 season struggles. The team was expected to rise from 2018/19 struggles following the return of senior players but their performance was contrary to the expectations.

The side finished the season at position 12 after the cancellation of the final four legs.  Asked on how his selection criteria will be after he was announced as Paul Feeney’s replacement, the former Kenya 7s star revealed that age will not be a factor but will focus at the ability of the players to implement his plans and if they meet the standards set.

“I think that Kenya 7s is a powerhouse in 7s and a lot of people appreciate the game in the country. There is a lot of potential from both the young and experienced guys. For me right now the task is to come up with the best team that will represent the Nation. This means the team that meets the standards. Age is not a factor whether you are 40 or 10 as long you meet our physical and tactical standards and you execute our plans, you will have a better chance,” he said.

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The Coach also stated that he would want his charges to play the Kenyan way, be agile in attack and adaptive.

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“I have always advocated that we have to play this game a  Kenyan way. We want players who are agile in the attack so that we can increase the diversity in terms of our game. We want players who will be able to quickly adapt to the current situation and execute. The key focus will be to push our Kenyan style of play,”  he added.

The 37-year-old takes the team at a time when four legs the World 7s Series have been already cancelled. He has big tasks ahead including the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Cup which will be staged in South Africa.

He admits that it will be a challenge especially with the COVID situation in the World but he has vowed to do his best and deliver good results.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to serve the Nation. It is another short at it and I am proud of being honoured to be the Head Coach.  I endeavour to do my best and ensure that players give the best for the Nation and hopefully have good results and good performance.”

“For me the task is big, the challenges are there looking at the current situation, we are in, in terms COVID-19 situation. There are no enough tournaments leading up to the Olympics. In case we do not have tournaments we will see what KRU can do, maybe have invitational tournaments or organize tournaments locally,” he stated.

The former Impala man believes that if he can have the majority of his players ready by January his side is likely to do well in the upcoming tournaments.

“The key thing is how do we get the players ready. If can have 90 or 100% per cent of players meeting our standard by January then we stand a good chance,”  he stated.

On the Paris incident, he said:  “We apologized for what happened. It was not the best way to air our grievances. I took the responsibility and I believe that the best way is forward is better communication.”

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