New faces join 28-man Shujaa training squad
Thirteen fresh faces, among them Impala’s Edmund Anya, Homeboyz duo of Collins Shikoli and Zeden Marrow, will form part of the team that will compete to a spot in the 13-man squad ahead of the 2021/22 World Rugby Sevens series in Dubai in a fortnight’s time.
Twenty-eight players are expected in the training camp who will be whittled down to 13 to make the final team.
Three foreign-based players make up the team. They are regular forward Willy Ambaka, Oscar ‘Big Wheels’ Ouma and another new face Kamoto Kamanga.
Fifteens speedster currently attached to the Simbas in South Africa John Okoth, Hannington Wabwire, Kevin Wekesa, Archadius Khwesa, Ben Salem, Richiel Wangila, Branson Madigu, Earnest Obat and Timothy Okwemba complete the freshers list.
Kenya Rugby Union successfully invited the players for medical assessments before their first session on Monday after a weeklong rest ahead of preparations for the upcoming season.
The new players were mainly picked from the just concluded Safari Sevens tournament where both Kenyan teams, Shujaa and Morans, finished in the podium.
Kenya Morans supplied five players - Marrow, Wabwire, Wekesa, Wangila and Obat - after convincing the selection committee through their individual contribution in the Safari Sevens.
Those from the Shujaa squad are Khwesa, Salem, Shikoli and Madigu.
Menengai Oilers winger Timothy Okwemba with playmaker Sammy Oliech also recalled from rehabilitation but is expected back in February as the 29th player.
“Our preparations started On Monday after a week of rest. We have new players on board and it’s going to be a long HSBC season. Hopefully, we will see who will get to play as we have many tournaments,” Coach Innocent Simiyu told People Sport.
There are no injury concerns with skipper Nelson Oyoo back after missing the Safari Sevens competition.
“They are all back. We also added Sammy Oliech who is set to return by February next year,” he added.
From the squad that was picked last season, a couple of big names have failed to return to the provisional squad while some are attached to the Kenya Simbas and will be available for selection. Among the players currently with Simbas are Vincent Onyala, Jacob Ojee, Brian Tanga, John Okoth and Jone Kubu.