NAIROBI, October 30 – Kenya will take its first step towards qualification for next year’s International Rugby Board (IRB) Rugby Sevens World Cup when they face Botswana in the opening match at the Africa Zone qualifiers in Tunisia on Friday morning.
The national team who are odds on favourites to qualify for their third World Cup in a row will close the day’s proceedings with a match against unfancied Senegal.
National coach Benjamin Ayimba will be banking on a legion of experienced players especially on the second day of the qualifiers where Tunisia, Zimbabwe Uganda and Namibia lie in wait.
Kenya most likely will face either Tunisia or Zambia in the main cup quarter finals with victory against either team setting up a semi final clash with either Uganda or Namibia.
Before the team’s departure for North Africa, Ayimba stated that his charges will have to raise their game against these countries as they will be no push overs and would want to prove a point against the Tusker Safari Sevens winners.
A top three place will send Kenya to Dubai but the team which finished seventh in last season’s IRB Sevens Series will only be content with winning the tournament outright to send a statement to the rest of the sevens spectrum.
On paper, Kenya’s squad has a menacing look to it with perfect balance of pace courtesy of Collins Injera, Kenya’s joint top scorer in last season’s IRB series, Horace Owiti and Humphrey Khayange.
Recently recalled Gibson Weru, Biko Adema and Lavin Asego are gifted playmakers with eyes for the try line which poses multiple threats for any opposing side.
Dennis Mwanja, Brian Nyikuli and Ben Nyambu have the mobility, ball carrying abilities and the destructive power in the set piece other countries in the qualifiers will pay a fortune for.
Meanwhile, Mwamba need to reach the main cup or plate semi finals of this weekend’s George Kabeberi Sevens to retain the overall title.
The defending champions have 62 points so far and are in Pool C alongside Strathmore, Nazarene and Moi Universities.
Top seeds Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) are top seeds have won last weekend’s Christie Sevens and face United States International University (USIU), Kenya Harlequins and Catholic University.
Anthony Ogot and Curtis Olago featured strongly for the bankers last weekend and will be in the trenches this weekend if they are to win their second title in a row.
Quins’ Lewis Olaka and Amos Agiro would not have enjoyed losing a pool match to their alma mater USIU last Saturday and would want to put that right when they line up against the college this weekend.
Nakuru should have no trouble in Pool B where they face Nondies, Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) and Kenya Polytechnic.
Rugby World Cup Sevens draw:
Pool A: Kenya, Senegal, Botswana
Pool B: Tunisia, Zambia, Nigeria
Pool C: Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cameroon
Pool D: Uganda, Namibia, Tunisia II
George Kabeberi Sevens Draw:
Pool A: KCB, USIU, Kenya Harlequins, Catholic University
Pool B: Nakuru, Nondies, KCA, Kenya Polytechinc
Pool C: Mwamba, Strathmore, Nazarene, Moi University
Pool D: Mean Machine, Impala, Daystar, Blak Blad