Serevi thrilled at idea of coaching Kenya 'one day'

Wednesday March 18 2020

Russia Academy head coach Fijian Sevens legend Waisale Serevi gestures during an interview with Nation Sport at the team's hotel in Nairobi on October 15, 2019. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |


Fiji Sevens legend Waisale Serevi would love to coach Kenya Sevens one day.

Serevi, who is currently the Russia Sevens head coach, said Fijian and Kenyan brand of rugby is almost similar hence it would be a great honour to handle the Kenyan team.

“Kenya’s brand of rugby is driven with passion, hard work, discipline and dedication hence easy to work with,” said Serevi, who is in the country as coach of the Russia Academy for this weekend’s Safari Sevens.

Serevi was speaking at his team’s hotel in Nairobi where he got to meet Kenya Sevens coach Paul Feeney for the first time since 2005 when Fiji clinched the Rugby Sevens World Cup.


Serevi was then player-coach while Feeney as backline coach.

“I have many years to focus on coaching and give back to rugby what it gave me. Who knows that one day soon I will get to coach Kenya or perhaps take over after Feeney exits,” said the 51-year-old Serevi with a telling laughter.

However, Serevi urged Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and the players to accord Feeney the support he needs adding that the New Zealander is one of the best coaches that Kenya can have.

“I strongly believe Feeney is good for Kenya,” said Serevi, who was nicknamed "The Wizard" by commentators and considered to be the greatest rugby sevens player in the history of the game.

Serevi noted that smaller nations like Kenya, Fiji and Samoa have always experienced similar financial problems.

“The only way out is for the rugby authorities to get to talk to the players and solve issues honestly and candidly without holding knives behind each other’s backs,” said Serevi.

“We had all these challenges in Fiji but the team delivered the World Cup and Olympic titles. Players always did their part with the Union reciprocating.”

Serevi said that Kenya Sevens should have had permanent place in top five at the World Rugby Sevens Series especially after winning the 2016 Singapore Sevens but regretted that the high turnover of coaches and players’ strike have been their main undoing.

Serevi explained that experience in a team can never be bought adding that the younger players will always need the guidance from senior figures.

“The best build up for any coach is a stronger team and I am happy that some senior players are talking to Feeney and the union. I want to see a strong Kenyan team at the World Series and not a side that is struggling to avoid relegation,” said Serevi.

Serevi singled out Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu as one of the coaches Kenya should have kept.

"Consistency is key and for sure Kenya should have won several legs last season if Simiyu was kept, having reached the Cup finals in Canada and Hong Kong,” said Serevi.

“I might not be privy to the politics around but you don’t expect a coach to perform with rookies.”


This is the second time Serevi is taking part in Safari Sevens.

He played for Kenya’s second side Shujaa during the 2005 Safari Sevens where he had been invited as chief guest.

“I enjoyed playing for Shujaa since it always important to groom future players,” said Serevi, who moved to USA in 2009 where he has been for the last nine years.

Serevi helped form the Waisale Serevi Academy in 2010 in Seattle, Washington State, USA.

The Academy would rebrand to Atavus Rugby and Football Academy in 2017 as Serevi left for Russia.