The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) announced on 4th August 2023 that Kevin ‘Bling’ Wambua would be taking over as the new head coach of the men’s national rugby 7s team, Shujaa, following the departure of British coach Damian McGrath. Wambua would be joined by Louis ‘Fadhee’ Kisia as assistant coach and Steve Sewe, who previously served as team manager in 2011-12, returning to the same role. The trio first met in 2005 when they played for Mwamba RFC and are now tasked with leading Shujaa in the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers in September.
The decision to bring in a local coach was made after Shujaa was relegated from the World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time in 19 years. The qualifiers in Paris would also serve as African qualifiers for the 2024 Olympics and the World Rugby Challenger Series 2024. The friendship and bond among Bling, Fadhee, and Sewe began 18 years ago when they played together for Mwamba RFC as young boys. They supported each other on and off the field, and their strong relationship and trust in each other led to their roles in Shujaa’s management.
Sewe, who had previously worked as team manager under Mike Friday, emphasized the importance of work ethic and the need to strike a balance between friendship and professionalism. Bling spoke highly of Fadhee’s passion and energy, which he believed would be crucial in their roles as coaches. Sewe added that working together with familiar faces, like Bling and Fadhee, made the job easier and allowed them to trust each other and cover for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Despite their friendship, they acknowledged the importance of not taking things for granted and maintaining a strong work ethic. They aimed to focus on what was best for the team and the country, rather than individual interests. Booking a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympics meant everything to them, and they were determined to bring back the glory days to the Shujaa team.
Shujaa has been grouped with Zambia, Namibia, and Nigeria for the Rugby Africa 7s Cup 2023. The winners of the tournament would earn automatic qualification to the Paris Olympics, while the second and third-placed teams would have a chance to qualify through a final qualification Repechage tournament.