• Kenya chasing their second appearance at the Olympics.
• Shujaa open campaign against Ivory Coast in the qualifiers.
Mwamba's Billy Odhiambo and Willy Ambaka of Quins are the notable inclusion in the Kenya Sevens squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers slated for next week.
The duo missed the whole of last season due to the pay dispute between Kenya Rugby Union and some of the senior players and last played for the national side under Innocent Simiyu in the 2017/18 season.
Andrew Amonde will captain the side assisted by Jacob Ojee and Jeffrey Oluoch. 2018/2019 season star trio of Daniel Taabu, Johnstone Olindi and Vincent Onyala have made the cut to represent the country at the qualifiers together with regulars Bush Mwale, Nelson Oyoo and Alvin Otieno.
Oscar Dennis, who last featured for Shujaa during the Asian tour makes a come back to the team.
Head coach-cum-technical director Paul Feeney said they were keen to wrestle way the Africa Sevens trophy from Zimbabwe and at the same time qualify for the Olympics.
"We’re definitely looking forward to reclaiming the cup which we lost last year to Zimbabwe. This year’s tournament is equally important as it also turns out to be an Olympic qualifier," said Feeney.
"It will be best for us to seal the Tokyo 2020 ticket while in Johannesburg as opposed to proceeding to the repechage. It’s every athlete’s dream to compete at the Olympics."
"The preparations have been ideal, the best we’ve had in years and this was topped up by the Safari 7s win for the young lads. The preparations, playing and winning the Safari title gives us the momentum we just required to enable us to reclaim the trophy,” added Feeney.
Feeney said Odhiambo missed out on the Safari Sevens to keep him fresh for the Olympic qualifiers.
"Our strength and conditioning coach, Mike Shamia, has done a good job with Billy, who is back in the set up,” observed Feeney.
"We will control what we can when on the pitch and ensure we win the tournament," noted Feeney.
Kenya open their campaign against Ivory Coast with 12 other countries battling out to secure the automatic slot to the Tokyo Olympics. The countries taking part in the event are Zimbabwe, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
The team departs on Wednesday and are expected back in the country next Monday.
Squad Andrew Amonde (C) Willy Ambaka, Alvin Otieno, Bush Mwale, Vincent Onyala, Daniel Taabu, Johnstone Olindi, Oscar Dennis, Billy Odhiambo, Nelson Oyoo, Jeffrey Oluoch (VC), Jacob Ojee (VC).