Stakes will be raised when Shujaa land in Madrid for the Spain 7s rugby invitational tournament slated for February 20-21 and 27-28.
Kenya sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu plans to use the tournament to gauge his players as well as raise the team’s match fitness after a long lay off after the suspension of sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He told People Sport that he expects the team to hit Olympics standards by mid-March, so that by the time the Tokyo Games come, they will just be doing polishing.
Simiyu commented on the team’s key focus during their Wednesday morning session at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds where he was optimistic that his charges will be technically and physically fit before the Spain tournament.
“Good to be back to training, our key focus right now is how many players will be ready to play by mid-February when we go to Spain.
The Spain tournament is very key for us in assessing where the players are in terms of the Olympics preparations as we hope to start hitting our standards by mid-March this year,” Simiyu said.
All Olympic qualified teams received Sh 10 million grants (100,000 dollars) from World Rugby to support them in preparation for the Olympic games, especially during the current pandemic times where most unions were forced to terminate contracts of players and employees to remain operational last year, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) included.
Shujaa team manager Eric Ogweno has been keen to ensure all Covid-19 prevention protocols are followed to the latter since resumption of the team’s training on Monday.
According to Ogweno, every Monday the Nairobi Metropolitan Services will be testing all the players and attached staff at the grounds.
Commenting on the mandatory test shortly after his turn to be tested, Ogweno said he was glad the team had adapted to the new norm as they were geared towards a safe and secure return to action.
“Covid has drastically changed how we do things.
We are very happy with Nairobi Metropolitan Services who have been very kind to assist us with this service at no cost.
It’s a key element of both player and staff welfare in the new world order as we aspire to achieve a safe and secure return to action,” Ogweno said.