Kenya Sevens coach calls for a sustainable, stable structure to see his side flourish

Kenya Sevens coach calls for a sustainable, stable structure to see his side flourish

Innocent Simiyu, the Kenya Sevens coach stated that only a sustainable and stable structure would ensure continuity for any of the national teams.

In an insightful interview at the completion of the USA Sevens at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Simiyu who let the team to the second tier Challenge Trophy said he was disappointed that Kenya was not among the top eight teams.

Although he remained optimistic when the team flew to Vancouver, Canada for the sixth tournament, Simiyu candidly spoke about the hard conditions in which the team operates and the pressure to achieve results.

He admitted the preparations ahead of the first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town were not ideal. The resignation of Strength and Conditioning Coach, Ian Gibbons after the next two tournaments in New Zealand and Australia further compounded the conditions.

Simiyu predicted a tough outing in Vancouver with his captain Andrew Amonde agreeing that there is no easy pool in the Series anymore. "Every leg is tough," Amonde admitted.

For a new coach, Simiyu could take solace in the words of Gordon Tietjens, the former New Zealand Sevens handler who is now with Samoa. "There is no quick fix," Tietjens told SNA in Las Vegas when asked about his assessment of Samoa.

"You need some of the players who have been in the circuit to stable the ship," Tietjens acknowledged.

South Africa, winners in Las Vegas are beneficiaries of a structure which was put in place by Paul Treu who briefly handled Kenya. "We are enjoying the fruits of what Treu did. It is unfortunate Kenya were impatient," the source admitted.

In Las Vegas, Kenya remained 11th when the Series reach the halfway stage. Simiyu noted there were great strides made in the team's performance. "The aim is to ensure our systems work and remain consistent."

Costly mistakes

The coach noted that Kenya needed to maintain the intensity for the duration of the game. "We made some costly mistakes against New Zealand and Argentina. There was a lapse of concentration in the other games especially when we allowed Chile to come back and Samoa to narrow the gap," he explained. Some of the costly mistakes according to Simiyu were clarity in decision making and maintain quality in approach to ech game.

But overall, Simuyu encouraged the strengthening of the administrative structure in the Sevens set up. "A delay in naming the technical bench affected our preparations. The solution is to have a sustainable structure for continuity," the coach stated.

Contrary to what has been reported, Simiyu revealed he had a clear vision for the team. "A solid technical bench is key and we have this in place. The reason we do not have everybody we need on board is perhaps administrative which is beyond our scope," the coach explained.

In his technical bench line up, Simiyu has: Head coach, assistant coach, development coach, Strength and Conditioning coach, physiotherapist, analyst and a team manager. Before the resignation of Gibbons, all these posts have been filled.

"At the moment, KRU does not have the resources. There was no budget for the technical bench and I have been assured the issue could be resolved after the current season ends which means we may only have a strong technical bench next season," said Simiyu. It all amounts to timely resources for the team according to the former Kenya captain. He says there are small gains because the players are getting their allowances on time.

On the player contracts, Simiyu revealed a new system where the contracts would be renewed automatically. "There will be a review at the end of the season after which the contracts will be renewed automatically. We have other details which are confidential but players are free to negotiate their contracts. This is what happens internationally," Simiyu explained.

Unanswered questions

Two questions which have remained unanswered for some time were also clarified by the coach. "I am in charge," he answered when asked whether there were other forces who influenced his decisions on team selection.

Another question touched on some of the equipment used by the team. . "Our resources could be used to benefit the team first, that's all I can say."

There were allegations that Geoffrey Kimani who was the strength and conditioning coach could still be having some of the equipment belonging to the team. But, SNA saw a document where Kimani handed over what was in his possession to the KRU.

"I used my equipment and handed over what I had. I have signatures to prove that," Kimani stated.

The focus on resources was also raised by some individuals during the KRU Stakeholders meeting. They wanted to know why KRU directors accompanied the Sevens team to every tournament since last season. Two directors were in Las Vegas.