Kenya has named both it’s men and women’s Rugby Sevens squad that will travel to Tokyo for their second showing at the Olympic Games later this month. Both teams have been in bubble training for the past one month at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani ahead of travelling to Tokyo.
Shujaa head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu has named a squad balanced with youth and experience with four players who made it to the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, making the cut for the final 13 that heads to Tokyo.
The squad will be skippered by the experienced Andrew Amonde who takes the captain’s armband back after almost two years.
“The selection was tough as all the boys put in the work. We are happy to have a few experienced players fit and back into the fold.Our key target is getting out of the pool. Our first pool game will set the standard for our performance in Tokyo,” coach Simiyu said after naming his team.
Also included is speed-star Collins Injera who has managed to get back to top shape after struggling towards the end of last year with a shoulder injury picked up during the 2019 Safari Sevens.
Nelson Oyoo, Jacob Ojee, Willy Ambaka and Eden Agero are the other experienced faces in the squad. The team will be laced with a touch of youth with the likes of Johnstone Olindi and Vincent Onyala also making the squad.
Shujaa will face a tough Pool C that has perennial rivals South Africa who clinched bronze in Rio, United States of America, coached by former Kenya coach Mike Friday, as well as Olympic debutants Ireland.
Meanwhile, Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo has gone for a tried and tested outlook with his team set to be skippered by Philadelphia Olando. The team will also include Sheila Chajira and Janet Okello, both who played at the Rio Olympics.
“We based our selection criteria on attendance, discipline, medical assessment, player fitness as well as understanding of the game and positional roles each player has. This is what guided our selection of the final 13 players,” said Oloo.
He adds; “We also have a few players missed out on the selection because they are yet to recover from injuries picked up in previous tournaments.”
For the Olympics, the Lionesses have been drawn into Pool A alongside New Zealand, Russia and Great Britain.
“I am very excited to play against the greatest teams in the world at the Olympics, much as we are the underdogs, we plan to play to win. We shall give our best and let character win the day when we take on to the pitch. We ask our fans back home to support us throughout the tournament,” Coach Oloo further commented.
Both teams had been scheduled to fly out to Los Angeles for a final tune-up tournament ahead of the Tokyo Games, but the same was cancelled over fears of COVID-19 spread coming very close to the Olympic Games.
World Rugby has set out stringent rules for the Games in regards to COVID-19 with teams set to be expelled from the tournament if at least six members test positive.
The Shujaa and Lionesses, alongside other teams which will be travelling to Japan early, will be in a very strict bio-secure bubble at Kasarani a week before travelling to Tokyo.
Squads to Tokyo Olympics:
Andrew Amonde (KCB,Captain), Alvin Otieno (Homeboyz), Vincent Onyala (KCB), Herman Humwa (Kenya Harlequin), Collins Injera (Mwamba), Daniel Taabu (Mwamba), Willy Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Johnstone Olindi (KCB), Eden Agero (Kenya Harlequin), Jeffrey Oluoch (Homeboyz), Nelson Oyoo (Top Fry Nakuru), Jacob Ojee (KCB), Billy Odhiambo (Mwamba)
NON-TRAVELLING RESERVES: Bush Mwale (Homeboyz), Derrick Keyoga (Menengai Oilers), Dennis Ombachi (Nondescripts)
MANAGEMENT: Innocent Simiyu (Coach), Anthony Muchiri (Assistant Coach), Lamch Francis (Medic), Erick Ogweno (Manager)
Philadelphia Olando (Northern Suburbs, Captain),Sheila Chajira (Homeboyz), Stellah Wafula (Impala Saracens), Christabel Lindo (Impala Saracens), Leah Wambui (Homeboyz), Judith Auma (Homeboyz), Vivian Akumu (Top Fry Nakuru), Sarah Oluche (Mwamba), Grace Adhiambo (Top Fry Nakuru), Cynthia Atieno (Homeboyz), Janet Okello (Mwamba), Sinaida Aura (Northern Suburbs), Diana Awino (Impala)
NON TRAVELLING RESERVE: Enid Ouma (Homeboyz)
MANAGEMENT: Felix Oloo (Coach), Samuel Njogu (Assistant Coach), Ben Mahinda (Medic), Camilyne Oyuayo (Manager)