We caught up with former Kenya 7s head coach Benjamin Ayimba who tells RagaHouse he’s looking forward to a vibrant Western Nationwide league.
Ayimba, through his ‘Rugby Mashinani’ initiative, says he has been helping Siaya RFC as well as working with schools based on the Western side.
“I am based in Siaya now, I am doing a bit of work there and of course helping clubs whenever they need my expertise. They call me and I help them out and any rugby initiative that comes across I am happy to do it.”
Siaya RFC participates in the Nyanza-region of the Western Nationwide league with Ayimba saying in a few years it will be a big team out there competing with the big guns in the Kenya Rugby.
“It’s the Siaya that has been there that I am working with then just going to schools supporting the younger kids who want to play the game but didn’t have a chance.”
“You’ll probably see a strong Siaya RFC and a strong Western league because I am in talks with Vihiga and Kakamega counties and hopefully I can talk Kisii and Nyamira counties too, once I do that we will have a very strong Western league,” added Ayimba.
Ayimba guided Kenya to a Singapore 7s win after 140 tournaments as well reaching Cup semis in the 2013 Sevens World Cup.
The World Cup performance in 2009 saw Ayimba awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior by then President Mwai Kibaki.
He has been following the ongoing National Sevens Circuit that has seen four different teams win the four legs and says this shows Kenya rugby has come of age.
“That has been very exciting I think we’ve come of age now and teams are doing a lot to make themselves better as well as the players.”
“Four winners is improving the standards and we are hoping in the next two there will be two new winners, if that happens we’ll have definitely come of age. Already as it is we’ve done a lot to show the game is already spread and more talent is coming through.”
Ayimba says the upcoming HSBC World Sevens Series will be different as all teams have stepped up with Commonwealth Games and World Cup set to change things.
“It’s a very difficult season as well for everybody who is participating. Already 10 tournaments is a drag, now they are 12 including two major ones, Commonwealth and World Cup.
New Zealand is recovering, Fiji reached their peak, and South Africa will do quite well although I'm not sure whether they will win the series but they are still a side that are very young and able to pull all strings and make a good season.
Hopefully, all other teams that were rebuilding last year will pick up and get onto the table.”
WIth France set to contract Olympic sevens winner Ben Ryan, Ayimba says he will be willing to take up a job that he will consider worthy.
“Right now I am more concerned about after-rugby days and that’s why I am focusing on Siaya but if a deal comes through that is good enough that I can’t refuse I will take it,” concluded Ayimba.