Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) have lined up at least four coaches to replace Paul “Pau” Murunga as Kenya Sevens head coach.
A source at the Union disclosed that former Kenya Sevens coach Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu and the team's former strength and conditioning coach Chris Brown are some of the tacticians touted as possible replacements.
Murunga is just a year into his two-year term as Kenya Sevens coach, having replaced Simiyu after the 2017/2018 season.
Simiyu's fate as Kenya coach is believed to have been sealed after protesting players concealed the sponsor’s logo (Brand Kenya) during the Paris leg of the 2017/2018 World Rugby Series.
Kenya needed the last leg in the 2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series to avoid relegation, finishing 13th overall in a season where Murunga pulled through without most senior players.
Brown, who served under former Kenya Sevens coach Mike Friday during the 2012/2013 season, is currently the head coach of United States Women’s Eagles Sevens. Friday is handling the US Sevens team.
Brown was appointed US Women’s Eagles Sevens coach in October last year, having been a consistent presence at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista supporting USA Rugby's women's and men's resident athletes as a skills coach.
Also line up is the current Samurai International touring side coach Nick Wakley and Canada Sevens coach Liam Middleton, who also handled Zimbabwe Sevens team, Cheetahs.
“I can foresee the Union going for a foreign coach since the only local options they have are Simiyu and former coach Benjamin Ayimba, whom they can’t engage,” said the source. “Namcos can’t return after the players’ spat with the sponsors while Ayimba too can’t following his acrimony with the union’s board.”
Simiyu took over from Ayimba to serve two seasons - 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 - before being replaced by Murunga.
Simiyu had to do without senior players on his first season as coach after the players boycotted training over slashed pay.
Once again, close to 16 senior players boycotted training in protest over slashed salaries at the beginning of the 2018/2019 season leaving Murunga with no option but to go for the Series with rookies.
The union cash-strapped was firm that it couldn’t afford to pay huge salaries and bonus demanded by the players.
The financial crunch started when SportPesa withdrew their sponsorship in January last year.