Nairobi, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Sevens team is targeting a top-eight finish in their campaign in the new season for the World Sevens Series, which starts in Dubai on December 5-7.
New head coach Paul Feeney from New Zealand has a huge task to redeem the country's fortune on the global premier rugby sevens circuit after taking over from Paul Murunga three months ago.
Kenya finished 13th in the last campaign, missing the relegation ax by a whisker and Feeney will not have an easy ride as he seeks to turn the tide and take the team back as a top contender in the World Series.
To start with, Feeney will want to navigate through the group of death, which Kenya finds itself in the first leg in the United Arab Emirates, where they will come up against 2017-18 Series champions South Africa, England, and Spain in Pool D.
"We are looking to have a consistent season, aiming for a top-eight finish at the close of the 2019/2020 campaign," Feeney said on Thursday. "Next week we will name the 13 traveling to Dubai for the season-opening. I am happy with the blend of youth and senior players."
Kenya has already secured qualification to the Olympic Games, as well as winning his second tournament in charge, the International Safari Sevens in Nairobi last month. But he faces a litmus test to stamp his authority on the World Series in Dubai.
"The Olympic qualification is done and dusted and now we begin our Sevens World Series season in Dubai," Feeney added. "The players worked very hard throughout the competition. They trained for 11 weeks non-stop. So, I am very proud of them. I like our preparations for the 2020 World Rugby Sevens Series."
Feeney has named 18 players who will be at hand for the national duty in both Dubai and the second leg set for Cape Town, South Africa.
Feeney has retained utility player Andrew Amonde as the team captain and will be assisted by Jacob Ojee and Jeffrey Oluoch.
Kenya Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Kamau said: "The senior players have offered leadership and have been very big in terms of character, and we thank them for that. We don't take it for granted. We have a great team this season."
Kenya is the 10th team to book their place in the men's competition at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, joining hosts Japan, World Series champions Fiji, USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Britain, and Australia.