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Players' mixed reactions as Sevens coach quits

02 August 2013, 16:04

Nairobi - Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) remained silent a day after England international Mike Friday resigned as the country's Sevens team head coach.

However, players expressed their disgust on social media over the resignation of one of the most successful coaches to have been in charge of the team.

Will Ambaka on his Facebook page expressed his shock on the quitting of Friday, a man who has helped him raise his game. "This is very sad," said Ambaka.

Collins Injera, Kenya's top scorer in the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series posted: "Sad news indeed. You will be missed."

Another player who expressed his anguish was Horace Otieno who tweeted "Noooooooo...I guess it is what it is...so sad. Speechless!"

And as the news of the Englishman's resignation sinks in, halfway through his two-year contract which he signed in May 2012, it is emerging that New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji have had their coaches in discussion with the union over a possible replacement by Friday.

This has been going on silently at the Union headquarters, once it became clear that the country was struggling to meet the financial demands of Friday and his assistant Chris Brown.

South Africa stands out as the most likely destination where the next Kenya coach will come from as the Union has a mutual working understanding with them on development of rugby in Kenya.

Already South Africa's Jerome Paarwater has been hired as Kenya 15s head coach and was in-charge of the team in Madagascar last month where they won the Africa CAR Cup tournament.

He is also tasked with leading the team to 2015 rugby World Cup.

Current South Africa Sevens head coach Paul Treu might be the candidate to replace Friday, should he relinquish his post after a dismal show this season at the Moscow World Cup.

But local coaches had mixed reaction over the resignation of Friday. Mitch Ocholla, the man Friday replaced said the unbearable condition that forced the Englishman out is a confirmation that local tacticians are not to blame and are always sacrificed yet the problem is rooted in the boardroom.

Challenges facing rugby coaches

"We have faced numerous challenges as coaches," said Ocholla. "I can understand why Friday resigned."

Benjamin Ayimba, the only coach who like Friday led Kenya to the semi finals of the IRB Sevens World Cup in Dubai back in 2009, said it absolves him of any blame when he was kicked out because he could not steer the team to the level the union had wanted.

"I have always said hiring a foreign coach is not sustainable. They want huge salaries and we have meagre resources in Kenya rugby. In the long run, the union will have to return to hire a local coach, somebody who knows the difficulties and challenges the sport faces in the country. Foreigners want an ideal system, we have nothing like that here," said Ayimba.

Kenya is to hire a local coach and to give him the same resources that you would give to a foreigner." 


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