Shujaa head coach Wambua vows to take inspiration after comparisons with legendary Ayimba

5th June 2024

Ayimba is arguably regarded as the best coach the Kenya 7s having steered the team to World Rugby 7s glory in Singapore 2016.

Kevin Wambua and Benjamin Ayimba. PHOTO| Courtesy
Kevin Wambua and Benjamin Ayimba. PHOTO| Courtesy
  • Shujaa were relegated from the World Rugby Sevens Series in May 2023 under British coach Damian McGrath.
  • Wambua took over and managed to get immediate promotion at the first time of asking.
  • He also helped the team to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics as well as claiming the Safari 7s title with a much-changed squad.

Kevin ‘Bling’ Wambua, head coach of the men’s national rugby 7s side – Shujaa - has vowed to take inspiration from being compared to the late Benjamin Ayimba in his quest of taking Kenya 7s to the next level.

Ayimba, who sadly passed on in May 2021, is arguably regarded as the best coach the Kenya 7s have had courtesy of being the only tactician who led the country to its first and only World Rugby Sevens Series Main Cup title that came at the Singapore 7s back in 2016.

At that time, Shujaa overcame Oceanic giants Fiji 30-7 to lift the coveted gong in a result that has never been matched again.

Play here and stand a chance of winning the over 50 Million SportPesa Midweek Jackpot

For Wambua, comparison to Ayimba and confidence in his abilities started streaming in after he managed to steer the team to the Paris 2024 Olympics by stunning South Africa in the 2023 Rugby Africa 7s final, winning the 2023 Safari 7s and clinching promotion back to the HSBC World SVNS Series, all in one year after Shujaa had suffered relegation from the topflight for the first time in 19 years and in his first year at the helm of a much-changed team.

Speaking to SportPesa News after the team arrived from Spain where they got the job done with a 33-15 victory over Germany, Wambua vowed to take motivation from the huge plaudits and promised to keep on working on his skills to help the team achieve their set goals.

“It is a big feat being slightly compared to the late Ayimba who is one of the greats of the game and for me, I take motivation from that.

I believe that I am still learning and growing, and my main aim is to trust in the process and to keep working to get better,” he remarked.

ALSO READ: Resplendent Shujaa complete fairytale ride with promotion back to World Rugby Sevens Series

Wambua, the twelfth managerial change that Shujaa has had since 2010, was quick to give all the praise back to the team for executing his plan as he revealed what worked in regaining promotion.

"All the credit goes to the players because they achieved this feat. We made sure they were comfortable and had a solid environment with a vision and a plan to perform.

What worked for us was the belief, the brotherhood, taking care of each other on and off the team and making each other accountable, thanks to everyone who supported us," he concluded.

ALSO READ: Triumphant Shujaa treated to grand reception back home after Sevens Series promotion

Recent Kenya Sevens coaches

Benjamin Ayimba (2010)

Mitch Ochola (2011)

Mike Friday (2012)

Paul Treu (2013)

Felix 'Totty' Otieno (2015)

Benjamin Ayimba (2016)

Innocent "Namcos" Simiyu (2016 to 2017)

Paul "Pau" Murunga (2018-19)

Paul Feeney (Sep 2019-April 2020)

Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu ( April 2020 - May 2022)

Damian McGrath (May 2022 – July 2023)

Kevin Wambua (August 2023 to present)

ALSO READ: From grass to grace: Kitengela foreman Visendi wins 10 million courtesy of SportPesa’s free-to-play Goal Rush game