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Under-pressure Feeney calls for patience, trust

Tuesday March 17 2020

Kenya Sevens coach Paul Feeney looks on during their training session at the RFUEA grounds on February 20, 2020 ahead of the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series in Los Angeles and Vancouver respectively. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Sevens coach Paul Feeney looks on during their training session at the RFUEA grounds on February 20, 2020 ahead of the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series in Los Angeles and Vancouver respectively. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya Sevens coach Paul Feeney has called for patience, faith and trust at the back drop of a poor run in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Feeney noted that while the four-and a half months he has been with the team isn’t enough to produce the much desired results, he had been able to come up with the players and the team he needs to build something formidable.

Kenya Sevens have come under heavy criticism over their muted performance despite the return of senior players, who did not feature in last season’s series.

Kenya have reached the Cup quarter-finals twice this season in Cape Town, South Africa and Hamilton, New Zealand, and are currently placed 12th in the Series with 35 points from six legs.
The team is only three places above relegation.

Kenya Sevens only managed nine points from the two last legs of Las Vegas and Vancouver recently where they finished 14th and 12th respectively.

Four more legs remain this season namely, London (May 24-25), Paris (May 30-31), Singapore (October 10-11) and Hong Kong (October 16-18).

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The latter two are traditionally held around March -April but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am also disappointed just like anyone else if things don’t go well but we are doing the best we can to improve Kenya rugby sevens,” said Feeney in an interview.

“We have missed several quarter-finals because we have not been consistent enough.”

Feeney said that he has had a huge turnover of players in the Series since he wanted to give all the 20 core players playing time before he picked a settled team.

“My plan is now is to field the players I have identified in the last four legs going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but this coronavirus could destabilise that plan,” said Feeney.

“What would have happened if I only fielded certain players leaving out others?”

Feeney defended the return of the senior players saying players like Billy Odhiambo and William Ambaka had improved.

“Collins Injera has shown that he is the smartest player in the team thus his role as a player maker and team leader,” said Feeney. “He right now can’t be deployed at the wing because he doesn’t have the speed he used to have.”

He said Oscar Ouma had the potential to rediscover his great form with more playtime.

“As a coach and only four months here, I can’t know these players overnight. It takes time. We shall keep on training hard,” said Feeney.

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