Kenya 7s fast rising international Alvin ‘Buffa’ Otieno is set to miss the much anticipated rugby world cup in Cape Town, South Africa from September 9-11 2022.
In an interview with the media, Shujaa head coach Damian McGrath revealed that Buffa was left in America after the conclusion of HSBC World Sevens 2022, Los Angeles 7s where Kenya 7s finished sixth.
“We’ve been hit by a number of withdrawals, not of our choosing. We’ve lost Otieno who has left the program to pursue personal interests…which is a big blow because he is one of the world’s best sevens forwards,” McGrath said.
According to close sources, the fast rising forward who has been regarded as one of the best forwards currently in the game has joined Eastman Warriors Rugby Club in the Eastman region of the province of Manitoba, Canada.
He joins former Homeboyz teammate and fly-half Evin Asena as well as Dominic Wendo who featured for Kenya Cup side Strathmore Leos.
With only one week left to the global bonanza, the Damian McGrath coached side will also miss the services of Mwamba RFC flyhalf Daniel Taabu and Homeboyz RFC speedy winger Bush Mwale who were left out due to disciplinary issues.
Commenting on the displinary issue, McGrath said, “We’ve lost Daniel Taabu and Bush Mwale for internal disciplinary matters which have been dealt with but necessitated them being left out of this particular squad. It’s a blow to the team, but we are confident with the squad we have selected.”
Shujaa however will welcome the inclusion of veteran winger and all time Kenyan top try scorer Collins Injera.
Injera was named to represent the country for the fourth time in the upcoming 2022 Rugby World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Feels nice to be back in the sevens fold, it’s been a while since I was here I had gone to the 15s team. Getting a chance to play in the World Cup is huge. Everyone would want to represent his nation at the World Cup I’m just grateful to be here. We love big competitions, and I am happy to be selected,” Injera said.
The last time Injera donned the national team jersey was during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with his last series outing being LA and Vancouver 7s in 2020.
The speedy Injera, who is the all-time top scorer in the country and the second all-time top scorer in the HSBC World Sevens Series, hopes to inspire Kenya 7s in Cape Town with the first game set to be against Tonga, a non-core side at the World Sevens Series.
Shujaa will be appearing at their sixth consecutive Rugby world cup (WC 7s) since debuting in 2001 and will play Tonga in their opening fixture in Cape Town.
Tactician McGrath was aware of the physicality and unpredictability of Tonga given it’s the World cup he was confident his charges will produce a positive record.
“Tonga is one of those that you’d prefer to miss if you could because they are such a physical team. They bring flair, unpredictability as well as that steely defense that they are well known for. It will be a sticky start, but we are confident we can overcome it.”
Shujaa RWC7s 2022 squad: Nelson Oyoo (captain), Collins Injera, Billy Odhiambo, William Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Herman Humwa,Jeff Oluoch, Johnstone Olindi, Tony Omondi, Vincent Onyala, , Kevin Wekesa, Edmund Anya.