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Kenya Sevens back to square one, laments Amonde

Wednesday July 01 2020
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Kenya Sevens' captain Andrew Amonde in action during their training session at the RFUEA grounds on February 20, 2020 ahead of the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2019/20 Sevens World Series in Los Angeles and Vancouver. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI

Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde is concerned that the team’s poor run in the past two seasons will persist if issues affecting the squad are not ironed out.

He said the high turnover of coaches, scarce resources and cancellation of contracts at the end of every season  should be addressed if the team is to find its footing next season.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chairman Oduor Gangla acknowledged that lack of consistency and a proper high performance centre are some of the team’s main undoing.

Gangla and Amonde spoke on Tuesday to Nation Sport in separate phone interviews after World Rugby declared the end of the 2019/2020 World Rugby Sevens Series because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kenya Sevens team finished 12th on the table standings out of 17 teams. New Zealand’s All Blacks were declared champions.

Kenya collected 35 points after  reaching the main Cup quarter-finals twice in Cape Town and Hamilton, while All Blacks lead with 115 points having claimed three victories and five podium finishes in the six rounds completed in the men’s Series.

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All Blacks Sevens won three legs in Cape Town, Hamilton and Vancouver. World Rugby cancelled the remaining legs in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong.

At the same time, New Zealand women’s team were also declared the 2019/20 champions for being top of the standings before the virus interrupted the Series after five out of eight rounds were completed.

Amonde said that the departure of coach Paul Feeney in April was a setback. “We had a new coach Paul Feeney at the start of the season and it took him time to adjust,” he said.

Amonde said that Feeney found young players on the team and the senior players were returning after staying away the previous season due to a contract row.

“When you combine that with the limited resources we have, then it becomes tricky to give players the best conditions. We are back to square one after Feeney quit in April. We’ll have the same confusion when the new season starts,” Amonde said.

Gangla said there is a feeling that the team should have posted better results than they did.

“The team lost matches that they should have won,” Gangla said.

However, Gangla said the team was still going through a transition since  some senior players, who had been away the previous season, were back in the fold.

Gangla downplayed the high turnover of coaches as being the reason for under performance. He said good performance is driven my many factors among them investment more in Kenya Sevens.

“We need to put up a high performance centre for the team. These players need to train in a facility that matches their top rivals in the Series,” said Gangla.

Frustrations stemming from lack of long term investment in Kenya Sevens team saw head coach Paul Feeney quit less than a year into his job.

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