NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 – Kenya has been nominated to stage the inaugural CAR Africa Cup Sevens tournament in Mombasa on April 27-28.
South Africa’s Springboks and Kenya, the two sides that compete annually in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Circuit, will be the teams to beat in a competition that has attracted 12 countries.
However, Kenya will not be fielding their first team in the tournament, but will have the players distributed in three teams for the tournament.
The event will be staged in between the IRB Sevens Circuit with Edinburgh and London to be played.
“In line of spreading the sport of rugby to all major towns in Kenya, we made a promise to develop rugby within the regions. That is why we are bringing the CAR Africa Cup Sevens to Mombasa,” said Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Mwangi Muthee, in Mombasa.
The other participating teams include Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Tunisia, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda. Muthee said the Union was fulfilling their promise of bringing the game closer to the people.
“Every region gets to host international rugby competitions. It’s upon the Coast Rugby Union and the people of Mombasa to take ownership of this competition and make it a success,” said Muthee.
With Kenya and South Africa having already secured qualification to the World Cup in Moscow in July, Zimbabwe and Namibia will use the Mombasa event to fight for a slot in the qualifying rounds of the 2014/15 IRB series.
“Kenya and South Africa were awarded automatic qualification to the 2013 World Cup after the 2009 World Cup in Dubai,” said Muthee. The IRB 2014/15 series will be used to pick teams for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
The organizers are now asking sponsors to come on board and help them in the organization of the event.
“We must show the world that we can host international competitions outside Nairobi. We call upon all corporate bodies based within Mombasa who would like to be part of this event to come forward and work with the Kenya Rugby Union,” said Muthee.
Tournament’s Director Godwin Karuga said the 12 teams will be grouped into three pools.
“All teams will play three games on day one, and will be reseeded at the end of the pool phase. The teams in positions one to eight will proceed to the main cup quarters, with the winners proceeding to the cup semis, while the quarterfinal losers drop to the plate semis,” said Karuga.
Karuga said the three-day tournament will run concurrently with the Kenya inter-universities sevens at the same venue. “We expect to have lots of rugby action from April 26 to 29,” said Karuga.
Meanwhile, the Kenya women sevens team will travel to Tunisia from April 19 and 20 for the Africa Women Sevens.
Pool A: Zimbabwe, Morocco, Kenya C, Cote d’Ivoire
Pool B: Namibia, Kenya B, Zambia, Tunisia
Pool C: Madagascar, Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria