Damian McGath replaces Innocent Simiyu as Shujaa head coach

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has opted to part ways with Innocent Simiyu, Head Coach of the Kenyan men’s national sevens team, Shujaa.

Also leaving the Shujaa set up are technical bench members Michael Shamiah and Anthony Muchiri.

The Union has instead appointed Briton Damian McGath to take over from Simiyu for a period of two years that will see him guide the team to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“We offer our sincerest thanks to Innocent, Michael and Anthony for their tireless efforts and extend our very best wishes for the future.
Damian McGrath takes charge for the next two years leading up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France” read part of KRU statement

The 64-year-old McGrath boasts close to thirty years coaching experience, having most recently led Germany 7s to victory at the World Rugby Challenger Series in Chile in 2020.

He previously coached Canada 7s between 2016 and 2019, leading the Canadians to the cup title at the 2017 Singapore 7s.

Prior to the Canadian job, Damian was in charge of the Samoa 7s squad during the 2015-16 season, leading them to the cup title at the 2016 Paris 7s.

He also coached England 7s at the 2002 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow as well as the 2005 Rugby World Cup 7s in Hong Kong.

Kevin Wambua, who has been a part of the Shujaa set up, will assist Damian in ensuring a seamless transition while Geoffrey Kimani takes up the Strength & Conditioning coaching role.

Kimani, who is part of the National Olympic Committee –Kenya Elite Performance set up, is no stranger to the Shujaa set up, and returns for a fourth stint, having previously served in the S & C role between 2007 and 2011, 2015-16 and 2017-18.

Simiyu also known as Namcos leaves less than two weeks after Kenya failed to defend Africa Men’s Sevens title race after losing to hosts Uganda 22-12 in semi-finals at Kyadondo Grounds in Kampala.

Namcos who was also in his second stint as head coach of the national team, failed to inspire his charges to the glory of Tokyo Olympic Games as the team finished ninth at the summer games in Japan.

Simiyu is remembered in 2018 for guiding Kenya to break the 100-point mark in the World Series for the first time ever, finishing the 10 legs with 104 points and eighth overall in the standings.

He was also part of Shujaa squad that lifted the memorable 2016 Singapore 7s where where they won the eighth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in dramatic fashion, beating Fiji 30-7 to claim an historic Cup title.


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