Kenya Sevens coach Mike Friday has urged his players to think bigger as they proceed to the South Africa Sevens, the third leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, on Saturday and Sunday.
“Successive semi-finals and a share of third place in the standings - six points behind leaders New Zealand - isn’t a bad start for a developing a nation,” said Friday. “While it’s all very good reaching these big games we’ve got to step up and start taking our opportunities.”
Friday reckoned that part of the problem of his boys is mental. “Some of the Kenyan boys doubt whether they actually belong on the big stage because we’re not a super rugby nation. But I’ve made it clear to them that they’ve got to stop living in the past.”
But again, Friday indicated that the achievements had come much sooner than he had expected. “These are all new experiences they need to work through.”
Kenya have a battle at their hands as they take on Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth with the hopes of surpassing their previous two Cup semi-finals appearance.
The Pool C opener kicks-off at 12.44pm (Kenyan time) before Friday’s charges take on Spain for the third time this season at 3.50 pm. Kenya finish their group assignments against World champions Wales at 8.14pm.
Kenya will be meeting Argentina and Wales, who won Plate in Gold Coast and Dubai respectively, for the first time this season but have claimed the Spaniards’ scalp in the preliminary round of the two legs.
Kenya, who lost to South Africa 7-41 in the third place play-off in Gold Coast before winning at the same stage in Dubai 15-12 against France, are currently in joint second place in the standings with Fiji and Samoa on 32 points apiece.
After Plate exploits in Gold Coast, Argentina, who are placed seventh with 21 points slackened to settle for Bowl victory in Dubai. Wales lie eighth after improving on their show in Gold Coast where they lost in the Bowl semis with a Plate win in Dubai.
The performances by the Pumas and World champions are evident that Kenya is up for an interesting first day.
Friday will miss three of his best players in Collins Injera, Oscar Ouma and Biko Adema, who flew home due to school and work commitments.
Key player at Gold Coast Michael Wanjala will miss owing to school work with former skipper Sydney Ashioya out with a hamstring injury.
However, the return of former skipper Humphrey Kayange is inspiration enough.