Outgoing Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu will be hoping to sign off in style by recapturing Rugby Africa Sevens Cup title as the tournament starts on Saturday in Monastir, Tunisia.
Kenya, who are the tournament’s top seeds, start their quest against Botswana at 1pm Kenya time before facing Morocco at 4.40pm in their Pool “A” outing.
Kenya, four times Rugby Africa Sevens champions, last won the title in 2015 when they beat Zimbabwe 19-17 as their regional rivals Uganda stamped authority to win in 2016 in Nairobi and 2017 in Kampala.
Simiyu’s contract will expire after Rugby Africa Sevens and Homeboyz head coach Paul “Pau” Murunga has already been announced as his replacement.
The squad is dotted with seasoned players who have featured for Kenya Sevens at the World Rugby Seven Series. They are Herman Humwa (Quins) and Cyprian Kuto (Quins), and Homeboyz trio of Michael Wanjala, Leonard Mugaisi and Alvin Otieno.
Others were selected from the National Sevens Series for instance Eliakim Kichoi (Mwamba) and Daniel Taabu (Homeboyz).
Simiyu, who has been with Kenya Sevens for two seasons, said that his charges are under no pressure to perform adding that the onus is on Uganda by virtue of being the defending champions.
Simiyu said that even though they haven’t had the best of preparations, his charges are up to the task.
Uganda will face Senegal and Ghana in Pool “B” while the 2000 and 2012 champion Zimbabwe are in Pool “C” alongside hosts Tunisia and Mauritius. Madagascar, Namibia and Zambia make Pool “D”.
Eliakim Kichoi, Daniel Taabu,Charles Omondi, Leonard Mugaisi, Alvin Otieno, Michael Wanjala, Herman Humwa, Cyprian Kuto, Derrick Keyoga, Brian Wahinya, Benjamin Marshall, Gramwel Bunyasi.
Rugby Africa Sevens pooling
Pool A: Kenya, Morocco, Botswana
Pool B: Uganda, Senegal, Ghana
Pool C: Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Mauritius
Pool D: Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia
Pool Fixture Time (East Africa)
A Kenya v Botswana 1.00pm
B Uganda v Ghana 1.22pm
C Zimbabwe v Mauritius 1.44pm
D Madagascar v Namibia 2.06pm
A Morocco v Botswana 2.50pm
B Senegal v Ghana 3.12pm
C Tunisia v Mauritius 3.34pm
D Zambia v Namibia 3.56pm
A Kenya v Morocco 4.40pm
B Uganda v Senegal 5.02pm
C Zimbabwe v Tunisia 5.24pm
D Madagascar v Zambia 5.46pm