Eight months after his appointment, former Zimbabwe Sables International Mzingaye Nyathi will be in the dugout as Kabras Sugar RFC start the 2021 campaign this Saturday.
His early Kabras reign was clouded with the uncertainty of when competitions will resume and restrictions on training due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit the whole world. After a few months of working with side, the coach will lead them as they face Kenya Harlequins in the Charity Cup and later will kick off the Kenya Cup title chase with a home match against MMUST.
Nyathi says he has been dealing with the basic fundamentals of the game and expects Kabras to be a technical team that will be able to deal with challenges thrown at them. He is happy with the work done by his predecessor Henly Du Plessis and has been fine-tuning the side ahead of the 2021 campaign.
“The predecessors and Henly Du Plessis did a fantastic job,” Nyathi told the Scrummage. “What is key for me is paying attention to details, I have taken to time break everything to basic fundamental and make sure I finetune them. ”
“I am hoping to create a technical team that can carry out the tasks and tactically you will find a team that has a core identity but happy to explore around that identity. That is what I will bring in to Kabras and Kenyan Rugby, do not expect many changes.”
The former Western Province Academy coach has termed the Kabras squad as a well put together, one which he feels can contend for the Kenya Cup title for the next few years. The coach believes once the Sugarmen end the drought for the Kenya Cup title, they will become unstoppable.
“Looking at the squad, it is a well put together squad,” he added. “If you look at the average age of the squad, it is very interesting. What has been done in the past years leading up to where we are now has been interesting. ”
“It is my belief that the players at Kabras right now, they could be potentially be building a team that is going to challenge for that trophy for the next five to 10 years. What is missing is to put their hands on the trophy and once they taste the victory, they will be a tough nut to crack.
“I believe the timing is perfect that Kabras puts hands-on that Kenya Cup trophy.”
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The tactician stated the players took time to adapt to his systems and revealed that having had more time to work with the charges after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, has excitedly seen the side improve.
“It has been a journey, initially it was confusion and as human beings, we struggle with change,” he stated.
“Fortunately having a chance to work with the players when the COVID-19 restrictions were eased has helped. ”
“If I watch footage of where we were and the product that is to be put out to the Kenyan rugby fraternity am quite excited. Obviously, we will be tested and challenged and am keen to see how they respond.”
Asked if he is happy with the facilities at Kabras, the coach said: “It’s crazy, if you are not well centred you can be shocked by what you see. It is an amazing setup and I would love to replicate what Kabras is doing somewhere else around the world. ”
“The relationship between Kabras and Kabras Sugar Company is fantastic, what rugby is benefiting is also fantastic. Players are getting scholarships-meaning they are preparing for life after rugby, they are also getting a meal after training, the gym run by Richard Ochieng has made the boys to be really well-conditioned.”
The tactician has spent most of his coaching career in South Africa, a place which he says has exposed him to different approaches and how to deal with players.
“It has had a huge impact in terms of my approach. In SA, there are many conventional things that coaches get exposed to. Being there has challenged me and opened my mind to different approaches, helped me understand the type of the athletes am dealing with and coming up with a plan of action to take with the players.”
“In SA, you really have to have thick skin in terms of your coaching abilities because you will be challenged on many levels.”
Watch his full interview as he speaks on his coaching career, why he is loving life in Kakamega, his view on Kenyan rugby players and why he excited to get into action here: