Friday, January 24, 2014

Full-strength Kenya ready to roar at Las Vegas Sevens

Brothers Collins Injera (right) and Michael Agevi of Kenya Sevens. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Brothers Collins Injera (right) and Michael Agevi of Kenya Sevens. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Ayumba Ayodi
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Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Treu will have a chance to field his strongest squad as his charges start their USA Sevens campaign against Canada and former World champions Wales Saturday at 3.22am and 6.18am respectively in Las Vegas.

They will later wrap up their Pool A outing against Nelson Mandela South Africa Sevens champions South Africa on Sunday at 1.12am.

“After we brought in youngsters in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, we are now under pressure and would like to improve on our Main Cup quarterfinals performance in Las Vegas,” said Treu whose squad is a full of experienced players having only brought on board only one rookie Tony Owuor from Strathmore.

Treu affirms that he is also looking for consistency and making maximum use of the opportunities that come along the way.

“The players are learning pretty first since the talent is enormous. Anything is possible in the USA if our mental strength is good,” explained Treu adding that the players should believe in their capability if they want to be the best in the world.

TEAM COHESION

The former Springboks head coach will have former skipper Humphrey Kayange, Oscar Ouma and Dennis 'Ghost Worker' Ombachi in the team for the first time. Other experienced players in the team are the new captain flyer Collins Injera in the absence of injured Andrew Amonde, Horace Otieno and Biko Adema.

“We are talking about cohesion in the team. We want to put together what happened in the past and what is now in terms of physical and tactical ability. It won’t be a problem making progress if we are to put that together,” said Treu.

For the first time the team will have Emonyi brothers of Kayange, Injera and Michael Agevi. “It’s a good felling seeing Injera coming through and now Agevi. It’s incredible looking them grow and become good players to play in the same team,” said Kayange.

Kayange said it will make it easier and exciting and working towards certain goals if they are to step to the pitch at the same time. “We have played together at club level hence it’s much easier to blend as brothers,” added Kayange.

The former Sevens skipper noted that their pool is the toughest hence they will need to hit their boxes from onset as they look forward for support from the US-based fans.

“The close to 5,000 fans in the USA will be another important ingredient to our course,” said Kayange.

Kenya lost to Australia in the Shield final last year in Las Vegas. Kenya had lost to South Africa and Canada 5-15 and 12-19 respectively to drop to Bowl despite beating Uruguay 17-7.

Shujaa is currently placed seven with 32 points in the IRB World Sevens Series after a Plate final performance in Gold Coast, Plate semi-final shows in Dubai and South Africa.

Kenya has met South Africa twice this season, losing to them 12-21 at Cup quarterfinal in Dubai and in the preliminaries in South Africa.

There record against Wales stands at 1-1, having beaten the 2009 champions at Plate semis in Gold Coast before they claimed revenge at the same level in Dubai 19-24. Kenya and Canada have met once and the East Africans won 24-12 in the preliminaries in South Africa.

LAS VEGAS SEVENS POOLS

Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, Wales, Canada

Pool B: New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Scotland

Pool C: Samoa, Portugal, England, Uruguay

Pool D: Argentina, France, USA, Spain

SATURDAY FIXTURES
3:00 am South Africa v Wales; 3:22 Kenya v Canada; 3:44 New Zealand v Australia; 4:06 Fiji v Scotland; 4:28 Samoa v England; 4:50 Portugal v Uruguay; 5:12 Argentina v United States; 5:34 France v Spain; 5:56 South Africa v Canada; 6:18 Kenya v Wales; 6:40 New Zealand v Scotland.

7:02 Fiji v Australia; 7:24 Samoa v Uruguay; 7:46 Portugal v England; 8:08 Argentina v Spain; 8:30am France v United States; 11:00pm Wales v Canada; 11:22 Australia v Scotland; 11:44 England v Uruguay.

Sunday: 12:06am Argentina v France; 12:28am Samoa v Portugal; 12:50 New Zealand v Fiji; 1:12 South Africa v Kenya; 1:34 United States v Spain.

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