Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mitch Ocholla IN & Ben Ayimba OUT, Kenya Rugby 7s turns new page

Not entirely suprised by the breaking news and surely not the names bandied around. After a dismal 2010-11 season, the Kenya Rugby 7s team was bound to feel the heat and the first victims are the technical team. Again given the new office in Kenya Rugby Union, something(s) must give and they are turning out to be quite a number.
Mitch Ocholla (coincidentally played in the same 7s team with Ben Ayimba in the early 2000s, see here) has been propped to take over the 'hot seat'. Having played for the national 7s team though leaving prematurely thanks to nagging injuries and previously helping develop a worthy team in the name of Strathmore University Leos; Ocholla in our humble opinion has a lot of going for him to take over.
He also served as coach for Kenya's second string 7s team Shujaa in the last 2 years. A fair performance given the lack of playing time the team is accorded.
Image courtesy of

True the national team has some of the biggest stars whose egos need to be checked , lack of concrete structures such as latest technical skills training regime, ample funding from the Union and corporate sponsors alike along with the campaign slogan of 'professionalising Kenyan 7s rugby'. At a micro-level, Mitch has been able to develop Strathmore rugby to a team worth challenging the big boys and this they should during the Kenya Cup and even went on to win this year's Impala Floodlights hosted by Impala RFC (which he knows all too well having played for the team too).
The resources accorded to him and the level of management might be different but at least he seems to understand the system well. Now the KRU has to give him a free hand in setting up shop with a new outfit and his first call will be to infuse some fresh blood and commit or discard the players who might have monopolised the national team much to the detriment of their performance.
August or thereabouts the national 7s circuit starts and the technical bench must sharpen their pencils and put down on paper what they believe will be a team worthy to take part and finish in a respectable position. The Safaricom 7s will also come up as a good test to give the team a run of challenging top sides in the IRB circuit, if Kenya manages to get some of them to attend.
There is also the issue such as securing proper grounds for the team(s) with Unga Grounds touted to be developed to a world-class facility but that is a longer term project for KRU. Player motivation and lifting their morale will be an urgent call.
Kenyan rugby fans must also tamper their expectations albeit in the short term but remember patience is never a virtue in most sporting disciplines.

Mr. Mitch Ocholla karibu sana and your work starts NOW!

For more on Ben Ayimba's departure read SportsNewsArena's interview with him here

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