Tokyo — The Nairobi life for an expatriate is like a stubborn bug; once it bites you, the itch never goes away. Whether good or bad. For Mike Friday, a former Kenya Sevens coach, it is the good itch that has just refused to get off his back.
He led his current employers, the United States of America to victory over Shujaa in their opening Olympic Games duel in Tokyo on Monday, but still hopes they can push over the line and qualify for the quarter finals.
“Kenya are big men with big hearts. I am very proud of them. I’m proud of my boys but also proud of Kenya. I think they have a big chance and opportunity in this tournament and I’m hoping both of us we can go to the next round,” Friday said after seeing his side slither off with victory over Shujaa.
He added; “I miss Kenya a lot! Always, It’s is my home, It’s sweet playing Kenya.”
He was full of praise in the manner in which the Innocent Simiyu-coached side played, with his USA side having sneaked away with victory courtesy of a last-minute try.
“The Kenyan boys played with a lot of desire and they got a lot of talent and we know it was going to be very tough and the Kenyan boys did not disappoint. And that game could have gone either way and I am very proud of the American boys they managed to get past such a physical talented team,” Friday said.
He added; “They should be excited and confident. Any team from the 11 can win gold on any given chance and just because you lost the opening game it doesn’t mean you will not prevail, I am glad I was able to have the bragging rights for once against the 54 million plus Kenyans and I hope they will go easy on me.”
Meanwhile, the coach is full of praise of Kenya’s current boss Innocent Simiyu, saying he is steering the team in the right direction and has tipped him to do even better with the group of players at his disposal.
“He is very clever as a coach tactically. He is a man of honor and a man of his words, stands always strong for the boys and he continues to do so. When you have got an individual like that leading the programe, having been to Kenya, you have to be strong and prepared not to be liked by everybody but to be consistent and be honest with the boys and the boys will trust you,” Friday who coached the Shujaas until 2013 stated.
Meanwhile, USA speedstar Carlin Isles who scored the first try for his side was also full of praise for the Kenyan boys.
“Kenya is always a tough a team. You never know how it’s going to go when you play Kenya. If they get the cobwebs out they will finish strong because they are very strong and fast you never know man; I always wear my mouth piece when it comes to Kenya,” joked Isles.