National sevens rugby team seek Dubai title

Published on 02/03/2009

By James Waindi

National sevens rugby team left for Dubai for the world cup extravaganza with winning the title high on their agenda.

Coach Benjamin Ayimba said it was time they broke their duck in the event where they have failed to make the knockout stages in the past two events.

Speaking moments before jetting out for the world event that begins on March 5-7 Ayimba said: “I wouldn’t want to say that we are targeting a semi-final or final appearance, what I can say is that we are going for the title and I am optimistic we will win it.”

BIG DREAMS: National Sevens team before departing for Dubai for the World Cup that starts on Thursday. Photo: Collins Kweyu/Standard

Buoyed by victories against New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, England and South Africa in IRB circuit this year, and sixth in the world, Ayimba’s men believe they can strike it rich in Dubai.
“I have said from the beginning of the season that Kenya will win the World Cup but it appears that message has not sunk in,” he said during a lunch organised by Virgin Atlantic at Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi.

Kenya has been drawn in a tough Pool alongside England who beat Kenya in the semifinals of the Wellington Sevens, Tunisia and Hong Kong, but captain Humphrey Kayange says they are setting their targets high: “We have set our eyes on topping the pool to avoid any complications on the first day,” he said.

Ayimba who featured in the last two world cup events as a player, said the team was under pressure to perform after making headlines in the IRB Series and vowed that they will take the challenge positively.

” Every team will be out to beat Kenya after our exploits at the IRB Series that saw us shock the big wigs. We know there is a lot of pressure on us but I believe we normally perform well under pressure.”

He added: “This team has had the best preparation ever and we have no excuse of not performing in Dubai. The day of reckoning has come and I can promise we won’t disappoint.”

Ayimba has made only two changes in the team that featured at the last two IRB sevens series, dropping Nato Simiyu and Joshua Gathumbi and replacing them with former captain Innocent Simiyu and Mean Machine lock Wilson K’Opondo.

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