The Star (Nairobi)

9 March 2013

Kenya: Shujaa in Zim

Kenya second string Sevens rugby squad Shujaa face Zimbabwe and Hong Kong in the Spar Zimbabwe International Sevens today and tomorrow at the Harare Sports Club.

The squad that left on Thursday is a blend of experience and youth and will be looking to catch the attention of coach Mike Friday and the technical bench ahead of the Rugby Sevens World Cup in June.

Felix Ochieng who accompanied the team to Zimbabwe said the door remained open for the players to fight for a position in the main team ahead of the World Cup.

"The players on tour know if they perform well they wont be far from selection to the team doing duty in the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit and subsequently the World Cup in Russia," added Ochieng. Ochieng said the team was keen to build depth for future tournaments.

"It's key that if we are to compete with the big sides in future events we need to create depth and nurture some of our young players in the country," Ochieng added. He termed the pooling favourable but observed Kenya will be the team to beat.

"We have to be on our guard because several teams will want to beat us and we must tread carefully. Impala's Leon Adongo is the most capped player in the squad having played for the Kenya Sevens team in previous tournaments.

Quins Felix Ayange is in the squad and makes a welcome returrn after five months plagued with injury and will be looking to rejoin the Sevens team with a good display. Other players in the squad include Billy Odhiambo and Cyprian Kuto who made their World Series debuts for Kenya in Port Elizabeth and Gold Coast respectively.

Teams expected at the tournament include South Africa Sevens Elite Player Development Squad who won the 2012 Safari Sevens and hosts Zimbabwe among others. Elsewhere this weekend's Enterprise and Mwamba Cup fixtures have been postponed.

The decision to shelve the fixtures stems from the inability by teams to raise sufficient numbers at training in the wake of the recently concluded General Election.

As a result, all fixtures scheduled for today will now be played on Saturday March 16 at the same times and venues as indicated in previous communication.

Nakuru's Great Rift 10-Aside will still remain on the Easter weekend of March 29-31. The Enterprise and Mwamba Cup finals will be played on April 6.

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