•Shujaa have struggled in the three opening tournaments of the series and currently placed 14th on the log with nine points.
• "I have been watching our performances from Cape Town and Dubai and I believe they were good. It's only that the end result did not favour us,” noted Otieno.
Kenya Sevens star Alvin 'Buffa' Otieno says he is relishing the challenge of spearheading Shujaa's quest for a main cup quarterfinal at the Hamilton Sevens this weekend in New Zealand.
The winger, who sensationally left the programme in September to pursue a professional stint in Canada, said he wants to take the team to where it was before the Rugby World Cup in Cape Town last year.
"In my last tournament, Los Angeles Sevens in August (2022), we reached the last eight and that is where we want to return. We need to go back to the form we showed on those two days. It wont be easy but it's possible,” said Otieno.
Shujaa face a stern test in Hamilton, against an on-form Samoa, Fiji and France in Pool 'A'. However, Otieno said they will take one game at a time.
"It's a tough pool but we are prepared for the challenge. We are up against very good teams and who are in good form but the nature of Sevens rugby is unpredictable. The bounce of the ball can favour you an day," added Otieno.
Shujaa have struggled in the three opening tournaments of the series and currently placed 14th on the log with nine points.
This means they are in a four-team relegation battle alongside Spain (12th) Spain, Canada (13th) and Japan (15th) with a face-off set for the final tournament in Toulouse.
"I have been watching our performances from Cape Town and Dubai and I believe they were good. It's only that the end result did not favour us,” noted Otieno.
He observed that his form and fitness has improved since his last engagement with the national side.
"I last played Sevens in August and so am a bit rusty. However, I am improving with every passing day. I have been training with the team for three weeks and I hope to be in peak condition by the time we go to the United States and Canada in February," he added.
Shujaa arrived in New Zealand on Sunday night after a 23-hour flight from Nairobi and had a light training session at St Paul' Collegiate College in Hamilton where they interacted with local kids from refugee families.