Madigu has been outstanding in the local circuit…has so much talent and has trained so well, so we’ve decided it would be a great opportunity for him to taste some world series action.
Strathmore Leos' Brunson Madigu is rewarded for an outstanding 2022 National Sevens Circuit performance with a place in the Shujaa squad to the North American legs of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series in Los Angeles and Vancouver.
The Mwamba duo of Billy Odhiambo and Daniel Taabu return after missing out on the tour of New Zealand and Australia.
Commenting on the squad selection, Head Coach Damian McGrath said, “It’s a crucial leg for us…we’ve picked the strongest possible available team. There are three changes from the previous trip. Of course Willy Ambaka has stepped away after a glorious career and that will be a big hole to fill, and also, we’ve made two tactical changes as well.”
He spoke on the returnees, Odhiambo and Taabu, saying, “The three players who are coming in are Billy Odhiambo who brings a vast wealth of experience and it will be crucial for us at this time, Daniel Taabu whose been outstanding as a utility player and was badly missed on the last trip when he was unavailable for personal issues.”
“In keeping with the previous squads, we’ve introduced another young player. Floyd Wabwire did so well on the last trip, being dropped in at the deep end. But he gained valuable insights both on and off the field as to how the world series works, “said McGrath, who was full of praise for the Daystar Falcons back who misses out on the North American tour.
Speaking about Madigu’s inclusion, McGrath said, “Madigu has been outstanding in the local circuit…has so much talent and has trained so well, so we’ve decided it would be a great opportunity for him to taste some world series action.”
“It’s been difficult having no development team to use, so we are having to use the world series to give these players a little taste of what’s to come because we’re going to need them in the future…but I am sure Madigu will stand up and not let the country down. He has a lot of talent and I am looking forward to see how he copes,” added McGrath.
With Shujaa currently placed 12th on the series log, McGrath said, “We are at a crucial point in the series, we’ve managed to claw our way back up to within touching distance of safety and this next two-week period will give us an indication of how we are going to fare.”
Sharing his sentiments on the task in Los Angeles, McGrath said, “We are in a very tough group with Fiji and Australia who are immediate stumbling blocks to getting through to a quarterfinal but it should be noted that all the teams around us are now fighting to save themselves, “
“Japan, who are rock bottom, are in our group but are by no means an easy team to beat. They pushed teams close and it must be noted that they have been in the USA for two weeks preparing for this. They’ve also brought their development team, which just shows the type of opposition we are up against, where teams are truly high performance and looking to prepare themselves and give themselves the best opportunity of winning.
“We’ve had a good two weeks of training at Peponi School and we are thankful for all the help they give us. We are going to fight and try make sure that we can secure valuable points to help our ultimate aim of remaining on the world series,” concluded McGrath.
Team captain Nelson Oyoo spoke of the team’s preparedness, saying, “We are well prepared for the assignment coming in, and we want to get out of the relegation zone. For us to do that, we want to reach the quarterfinals …we have a higher chance, looking at the pool in Los Angeles. We would like to urge our fans in Los Angeles to come and support the team.”
Shujaa squad to Los Angeles and Vancouver
Nelson Oyoo (Captain), Herman Humwa (Vice Captain), Kevin Wekesa, Alvin Otieno, Dennis Abukuse, Brian Tanga, Tony Omondi, John Okoth, George Ooro, Billy Odhiambo, Edmund Anya, Daniel Taabu, Brunson Madigu