NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has moved the premier Safari Sevens event from September to November beginning with this year’s tournament.
The 2017 rugby bonanza will run from November 3 to 5 in Nairobi with the venue yet to be decided.
The last time the event was held in November was in 2013 at the Kasarani Stadium where Kenya’s Shujaa beat Australia Renegades 40-7 to be crowned champions.
The decision to amend the dates of the tournament that has in recent years been held in late September is guided by the need to align it to the start of the World Sevens Series which traditionally kicks off in December, in the process making it attractive to teams wishing to use the tournament as a pre-season build up.
The Kenya Rugby Union has at the same time reconstituted the composition of the Test Series/Safari Sevens Committee which will now be chaired by KRU Vice Chairman Thomas Opiyo.
The committee is expected to begin work immediately and key among its tasks will be to confirm the final venue for the 2017 Safari Sevens as well reclaiming the profitability and popularity of the tournament that has been played every year since 1996.
Rugby Africa Releases 2017 Fixtures
Rugby Africa, the body mandated with governing the game’s affairs on the African continent has released its 2017 fixtures calendar.
Rugby Africa Gold Cup :
From June 24th to August 5th
Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya
June 24th :
Kenya v Uganda in Nairobi (Kenya)
Senegal v Zimbabwe in Dakar (Senegal)
July 1st :
Tunisia v Namibia in Monastir (Tunisia)
Senegal v Uganda in Dakar
July 8th :
Kenya v Tunisia in Nairobi
Namibia v Senegal in Windhoek (Namibia)
July 15th :
Kenya v Senegal in Nairobi
Uganda v Tunisia in Kampala (Uganda)
Namibia v Zimbabwe in Windhoek
July 22nd :
Uganda v Namibia in Kampala
Zimbabwe v Kenya in Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
July 29th :
Zimbabwe v Tunisia in Harare (Zimbabwe)
Namibia v Kenya in Windhoek
August 5th :
Uganda v Zimbabwe in Kampala
Tunisia v Senegal in Monastir
Rugby Africa Silver Cup :
From July 5th to 8th
Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Morocco
Rugby Africa Bronze Cup :
From March 17th to 26th
Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria
Africa Cup Men’s 7
On November 18th and 19th
Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Botswana, 11th and 12th team to be confirmed.
Africa Cup Women’s 7
Dates to be confirmed
South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, Senegal, Madagascar, Namibia, 9th and 10th team to be confirmed.
Trophy Barthes U20 (formely the Africa U19 Championship)
From April 17th to 23rd
Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Madagascar
From April 17th to 23rd
Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, last team to be confirmed.
Under The Radar: Christabel Tata
The name Christabel Tata may not yet ring a bell with many a follower of the women’s game in Kenya but the 18 year old Rehema Academy graduate is certainly one to look out for.
She was a vital cog for her side who reached the cup semifinal, falling to a 0-28 loss to Nasokol at the 2016 KRU Girls U19 National Seven Championships which were held on the sidelines of the Safari Sevens at the Kasarani Stadium.
Kenya Lionesses Head Coach Kevin Wambua said, “ We have invited Christabel to get a feel of being in the Lionesses setup. While she is not currently in the provisional squad, she is a player that we do have our sights on and it is important to expose her to the Lionesses environment early in a bid to see her realize her full potential.”
Nicholas Aballa, KRU Age Grade & Women’s Rugby Coordinator added, “ Tata is one of eight players we have earmarked under our talent development program, the others being Nancy Opiyo, Sharon Akinyi Onyango ,Josephine Lyra (Barchando) ,Grace Adhiambo ,Vivian Akumu (Nakuru Day ), Janet kerubo (Rianyachabera High school) and Orpha Okero (Ekerubo secondary school).”
“The biggest challenge remains monitoring and coordinating their participation in the program owing to the fact that with the exception of Tata, the rest are still in school and based out Nairobi. We are however working on ways of mitigating these challenges,” he concluded.