SIMIYU IS BACK

Simiyu re-appointed as Shujaa coach

Simiyu was delighted with the appointment

In Summary

•Making the announcement yesterday, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla said Simiyu was the best candidate for the job and attained the highest marks during the interview.

•Certain board members are said to have been rooting for Murunga for the position while others wanted Mwanja to steer the side after guiding KCB to win the national Sevens circuit

New Kenya Sevens Rugby head coach Innocent Simiyu
New Kenya Sevens Rugby head coach Innocent Simiyu
Image: FILE

Innocent Simiyu has been re-appointed Kenya Sevens head coach on a two-year contract.

The former international,who donned both the Sevens and 15’s jersey for the national team, came out tops in the interview process, beating KCB assistant coach Dennis Mwanja into second place with former coach Pau Murunga third.

Former Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Feeney of New Zealand, World Rugby high performance consultant Peter Harding and Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) director of rugby, Thomas Odundo conducting the interviews.

 

Making the announcement yesterday, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla said Simiyu was the best candidate for the job and attained the highest marks during the interview.

“We wish him the very best in his journey. It’s not an easy job but with the support from the union, players and fans, I believe he will succeed,” added Gangla.

Simiyu was delighted with the appointment. “I want to thank the union for the appointment and having faith in me to guide this team yet again. With the support of everyone, we can lead this team to great heights,” he noted.

Simiyu left in a cloud of controversy two years ago after the players blocked the sponsor on the jersey following non-payment of dues during the Paris Sevens. He was subsequently fired but reinstated on orders by then Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.

“Paris 2018 was a very big scar for the nation. We apologised for what happened because it was not the best way to air our grievances and I took responsibility,” noted Simiyu. 

This will be second stint for the distinguished international who guided the team between 2016-2018. In his first year in charge, Shujaa finished 12th on the log with 63 points. In the 2017-2018, Kenya finished eighth with highest points tally of 104 points and reached two main cup finals in Vancouver and Hong Kong.

The culmination of Simiyu appointment ended weeks of high drama within the union. Certain board members are said to have been rooting for Murunga for the position while others wanted Mwanja to steer the side after guiding KCB to win the national Sevens circuit. The Kenya Cup caucus also pushed hard for the appointment of Mwanja as coach.

 

Simiyu will have time on his side with the first tournament expected to be played in March following the cancellation of the first four legs of the circuit in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney and Hamilton due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The series will either start in Los Angeles or Vancouver at the earliest in March next year. Simiyu is expected to announce his backroom staff next week.