NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21- The Kenya Sevens team has been pooled in a relatively easy group for this year’s Safari Sevens set for this weekend at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
Shujaa will headline Pool A and will fight it off against Portugal, Cape Warriors from South Africa and Rwanda as they aim to win the home tournament for the first time since 2013 when they beat Australia Renegades 40-7 in the final.
Head coach Benjamin Ayimba named a strong side for the Sevens which will be led by captain Andrew Amonde, but missed some top names including Oscar Ouma, Biko Adema and World Rugby Sevens top try scorer Collins Injera.
Defending champions Samurai will headline Pool C where they have been placed alongside Zimbabwe, Morocco and Red Wailers from South Africa.
National Sevens Circuit champions Homeboyz RFC will headline Pool B and will fight it off with England Saxons, Western province and Belhar Rockets both from South Africa.
The champions however will be without some of their key players including Michael Wanjala who will skipper Kenya’s team for the African Cup which will be played simultaneously with Safari Sevens.
Alvin Otieno, Bush Mwale, Jeff Oluoch, Leonard Mugaisi and Cyprian Kuto on the other hand will be in the Shujaa squad.
While the African Cup begins on Friday with Kenya’s squad taking on Nigeria at noon, Shujaa begin their Safari Sevens campaign on Saturday at 11am when they take on Rwanda.
At the same time, the Kenya Rugby Union has announced plans to have structured prize money for the tournament as a way of attracting top teams to ensure competition is maintained at the highest level possible.
Tournament director Godwin Karuga has said with the coming on of sponsors, it is something that will be worked on.
“It is actually something that we are working on because then if we have something the teams are fighting on then they can actually get the motivation to fun themselves to come here. With sponsors coming on board of course it is something we are looking at. Soon, we will have it. I can’t say this year or next year because as soon as it is available then we’ll be on it,” he said.
Karuga also disclosed the organizers sent out invites to all the top teams, but the fact most are off season owing to the just concluded Olympics made it difficult to have them travel for the tournament.
At the same time, KRU has stated it has not contacted former New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens to take over the role of coaching the national sevens team, with the Union having advertised the coaching post.
The New Zealand legend retired from coaching the Kiwis after the Olympics.