NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Rugby World Cup sevens finalists Argentina have been invited for next month’s Tusker Safari Sevens tournament.Fiji and former champions Samoa may also make an appearance in the 14th edition of Africa’s premier sevens event subject to whether logistics are sorted out in time.
“We are talking to Argentina to see if they can make it to Nairobi. We believe their involvement will add value because they caused damage to Kenya’s World Cup aspirations when they beat us in the World Cup and we want to reciprocate that generosity when we meet them on home soil,” said Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) chairman Richard Omwela.
The Pumas dumped Kenya out of the main cup semi finals of the world cup with a dogged 12-0 over the defending Safari Sevens champions before going on to lose 19-12 to Wales.
The South Americans won the San Diego Sevens back in February and are currently fifth on the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens standings with 68 points, eight above Kenya.
“Kenya will obviously be the star attraction but we also expect the likes of France, Emerging Springboks, Japan and Bristol University to grace the event,’ said Omwela.
Other countries that have been invited include French side Grenoble, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Morocco, Botswana, Tunisia and Uganda.
Omwela was speaking after receiving a Sh26 million sponsorship package from East African Breweries Limited who are sponsoring the tournament through their flagship brand Tusker.
The amount is an increase of Sh2 million from last year and is expected that between 9000 and 10,000 fans are expected through the turnstiles.
“We continue to put on a world class event and 2009 will be no exception. We are putting everything in place, the committee continues to meet to ensure that all the elements that go with hosting this event will continue to happen,” said Omwela.
“We will give Sh20 million directly to KRFU for the running of the tournament and more importantly for their development work in Kenya,” said Tusker regional marketing manager Mburu Karanja.
“The other Sh6 million will be spent on various peripheral supports. Media spend will take the bulk of this budget before and during the event,” he added.