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Give Feeney some spine

Saturday September 21 2019

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The Kenya Rugby Union has unveiled former Fiji Sevens and Western Province coach Paul Feeney as Kenya Sevens head coach.

We take this opportunity to congratulate the New Zealand national and wish him well as he takes over from Paul Murunga, whose contract has been terminated halfway after the team’s poor run last season.

While we understand that KRU is committed to having some of the best coaches training the Sevens team, the high turnover of coaches is worrying.

Kenya Sevens has now had nine coaches in the past 10 years, which is not a good recipe for development and stability.

Since Mike Friday was forced to resign after handling the team in 2012/2013, Kenya Sevens has had several coaches, including South Africans Paul Treu and Vuyo Zanqua, and Kenyans Felix Ochieng, Benjamin Ayimba, Innocent Simiyu, Paul Murunga, and now Feeney.

The team has been ravaged by player boycotts over poor pay, but it has proven that it has the capacity and talent to excel after Ayimba guided it to victory at the Singapore Sevens in 2016.



But Ayimba was soon sacked and replaced with Simiyu, whose reign was marred by a turbulent first year as top players went on strike soon after Kenya Airways’ sponsorship ended.

Simiyu was also soon fired and replaced with Murunga.

While KRU has now resolved the frequent player boycotts and stabilised coaching, we hope it will accord Feeney the support he requires and free will to select players, for Kenya Sevens is not the reserve of some big-shot players.

Finally, patriotism does not mean poor remuneration for players.