Kenya rugby sevens coach seeks senior players after dismal showing at World Series

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-06 22:42:12|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's rugby sevens head coach Paul Murunga is worried that the continued absence of experienced players might see his side relegated from the World Series.

Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, Murunga said that while there are contractual challenges and hurdles that the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and players must address, his immediate priority is to build a strong team that will help change the country's fortunes in the world's premier rugby sevens competition.

Kenya endured another poor run in Sydney last week, when they failed to win a single match, earning only one point and sitting just two slots away from being relegated as a core status team.

"I don't need to cover anything. This team needs experienced players in international matches like the World Series. We need to get this team playing at the top level," said Murunga.

The players to have missed the first four rounds of the World Series tour in Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton and Sydney include Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, Sammy Oliech, Nelson Oyoo, Jeff Oluoch, Leonard Mugaisi, Dan Sikuta, Dennis Ombachi, Brian Tanga, Eden Agero, Willy Ambaka, Oscar Ouma, Augustine Lugonzo and Billy Odhiambo.

They have all boycotted training and will not sign new contracts unless terms are improved.

"We miss their services. It is no secret, but I'm confident we will not be relegated. Kenya has a wide group of young players to select from. The talent is there, but it takes time to develop it," said Murunga.

He urged the KRU to seek the services of the senior players, because they need to salvage the team from imminent relegation.

"We need to get more experienced players if we target better results. We need them in the team now," he added.

A lack of government support and financial muscle have led to Kenya losing the service of several coaches, including current United States tactician Mike Friday, South Africa's Paul Treu and Kenya's previous coach Innocent Simuyu.

Others to have handled the national team in the last six years include Benjamin Ayimba and Felix Ochieng.

Team skipper Jacob Ojee has warned it will be hard to secure better results with the current crop of players, as the seniors hold firm demanding better contracts from the KRU.

"We have not had good results but I believe we are getting better and as we move forward we will get good results and avoid relegation," Ojee said.

Kenya's next assignment will be in Las Vegas in March against France, Argentina and hosts the USA in Pool B.