Kenyan ace Ambaka returns for Olympic qualifiers


Kenyan rugby sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba has recalled ace winger Willy Ambaka in his 12-man squad for this week’s 2016 Olympic African qualifying tournament in South Africa.

The injury-prone 25-year-old Ambaka, who plays with the South Currie side, Western Union, has not played for his country since the 2012-13 World Sevens series.

But he caught the eyes of the national selectors during the Kenya Safari Sevens in Nairobi in September when he emerged as the top scorer and Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Ayimba has also included two uncapped players, Frank Wanyama and Jeff Oluoch, as top-seed Kenya bids to grab the sole berth to next year’s Olympics in Rio, after failing to garner a top-four slot in the 2014-15 World Sevens series, which also doubled up as the Olympic qualifying competition.

The team will be led by Alfred Amonje and includes top players such as Collins Injera, Biko Adema and Dennis Ombachi.

The 12-nation tournament at Johannesburg’s Bernard Stadium will also feature two other contenders, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Kenya is drawn in Pool A alongside Madagascar, Mauritius and Senegal.

In Pool B are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria and Uganda while Pool C features Botswana, Morocco, Namibia and Tunisia.

The top team will qualify for the Olympics, while the runners-up, third and fourth-placed teams will go through to a final Olympic world qualifying tournament, which will take place in 2016 at a venue to be decided.