Dear Ian Snook…
Jambo Mr. Snook and Karibu Kenya, I am sure you have heard this greeting more than enough times so far, so we’ll skip the pleasantries..
First congratulations on your appointment as the Kenya Simbas head coach, I imagine that you would have preferred getting this assignment at a less demanding point in the team’s calendar, but hey we never always get what we want, right? I am sure the weight of the occasion and the task ahead has not been lost on you.
As you might have been introduced to the players, technical bench, the KRU board and so on, allow me to throw in a few pointers. Behind you and the Kenya Simbas squad is a group of very passionate fans, a bit entitled, a bit clueless at times, but none the less a great group of fans. Perhaps nothing out of what you have experienced elsewhere, you will get to love them and probably loathe them in equal measure.
Expect anything, more often than not, things will not go as you have planned, resources might not be availed when they are supposed to be, our gyms and or training sessions might not be as equipped as you would have liked but with you, are 32 players who are very eager to learn and will work their tushes off to do so. You will somehow find a way around the issues, which will at times come from closer ‘home’ than you expect.
There might be forces from outside maybe even inside the team, we call them cartels here, who would want to influence your selection or arm twist you one way or the other. Don’t listen to these forces, I am sure you have gotten this far by trusting your gut and making the right call based on what you know, don’t let that change.
As you have already been presented with a 32 man squad to work with at the qualifiers there is little you can change right now. I was however happy to hear that you will be going round the country impacting your knowledge on schools and clubs, I pray that they give you the time and resources to do so. After the qualifier, whichever way it goes, we will eagerly await the selection of a new Kenya Simbas side, maybe even technical bench based on your observations.
My two cents worth of ‘advice’ ends here, as I am sure you already have all these covered. Above everything else, enjoy your stay here, it is a beautiful place, with great people, hope we have already introduced you to nyama choma and a cold Tusker (If you at times enjoy a beer). Brace yourself for the atmosphere at the RFUEA in your first home test, it will be something special.
Finally, we seem not to like coaches who fly in and out every other week, no matter the results they bring, never mind us. As long as you keep the team winning, we will always find something else to get mad about.
Wish you all the best during your stay here and hope that you can perform the miracle that they brought you in to perform. Can’t wait to get the first glimpse of your squad!
Signed – A clueless rugby fan called Poghie Ndonga.