Rugby Rugby

Kenya to gauge Rio 2016 foes at Safari 7s

National sevens team captain Andrew Amonde in action during a training session on 20th September 2013 at RFUEA ground.Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO
National sevens team captain Andrew Amonde in action during a past training session at RFUEA Grounds. PHOTO/ Raymond Makhaya.

Nairobi, September 22 – Kenya will have the opportunity to gauge their 2016 Africa Olympics qualifies opponents after Zimbabwe, Namibia and Uganda confirmed participation at this year’s Safari Sevens set for October 3 and 4 at Safaricom Stadium.

The three are among 16 teams that will battle for the Robin Cahill trophy held by Welsh Warriors who are expected to return to the two day international tournament where organisers target over 40,000 rugby enthusiasts.

Kenya will enter two teams, Shujaa and Moran to give newly appointed head coach, Benjamin Ayimba a platform to constitute a formidable 23-man squad that will be contracted by the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) for the regional Olympics qualifiers and 2015-16 Rugby World Sevens Series.

Ayimba’s major test will be in the Summer Games continental qualifiers scheduled for November in Johannesburg, South Africa where Kenya is seeded top as Namibia, Tunisia, Uganda, Madagascar, Senegal, Zambia, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria and Botswana start from the preliminary round.

As opposed to its tradition, Safari Sevens tournament Director, Godwin Karuga announced there will be no the schools category that usually curtain raises the competition that will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“We are going to go into a two day tournament because we are not able to have the age grade tournament since the schools are closed due to the ongoing teachers strike.

“We are going to have full international competition and it’s the practice that the Kenyan team will be asking for going into the Olympics qualifiers and getting ready for the IRB Sevens Series,” Karuga, who resigned as KRU board member last year, declared.

The tournament has attracted Sevens World Series core side Portugal, Spain, Italy, England Saxons, Samurai International, Newcastle Wailers, Iconz (Australia), South Africa’s Western Province and Olympics hosts Brazil who are expected in the country on Tuesday.

Awaiting confirmation are Sevens World Series core side, Argentina, South Africa franchise, the Pumas, Rwanda, Botswana and Morocco, with Karuga stating the remaining two slots will be on a first come first serve.

Kenya who settled for Plate last year, will be out to reclaim the title they last lifted in 2013.