Shujaa target top eight finish
Kenya Sevens have set themselves a top eight target in the 2019/20 World Rugby Sevens Series season after a disappointing 2018/19 campaign that saw them survive relegation by a whisker.
Shujaa finished a lowly 13th position on the log with just 37 points as Paul Murunga’s young side became the whipping boys after a number of senior team players boycotted national duty due to a contract dispute.
Murunga paid the price for the poor show and was replaced by New Zealander Paul Feeney since which time the mood and expectations have changed ahead of the new season especially after the return of senior players.
Feeney will be assisted by Kevin Wambua. He believes Shujaa should aim higher, pointing to his squad selection yesterday where he handed debuts to only three players as part of his plans. The selection comprises KCB winger Geoffrey Okwach and Mwamba duo of Tony Omondi and Mike Okello as well as returing stars Collins Injera, Willy Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo, Nelson Oyoo and Daniel Sikuta.
“We are looking to have a consistent season, aiming for a top eight finish. Next week, we will name the 13 travelling to Dubai. I am happy with the blend of youth and senior players,” said Feeney, while unveiling the 18-man squad set to be captained by Andrew Amonde, assisted by Jeff Oluoch and Jacob Ojee.
Finishing in the top eight will be a tall order for Kenya who will need to target at least 100 points, given France, who finished in that position last season managed 99.
That therefore calls for a bright start from Shujaa who are in Group D alongside South Africa, Spain and England.
“The senior players have offered leadership, 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,” said Kenya Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Kamau at the squad unveiling.
Kenya must target at least a quarter-final appearance in the December 5-7 season-opening leg in Dubai which will guarantee them a minimum of eight points if they are to achieve their target. They managed just one point from Dubai last campaign.