By BS Mulavi
It was heartbreak for Kenya as they had to contend with second and third spots in the Safaricom Sevens after South Africa’s development squad won the overall title in a tense 21-17 final against the Kenyan Morans.
Crowd favourites Shujaa were eliminated by the same South African outfit 27-7 earlier in the Main Cup semi-final, and it was the same sad tale for the Kenya Morans who despite putting up a spirited fight, courtesy of a man of the match performance by Dennis Ombachi, they still had to watch the title slip away. Both teams had played exceptionally well on the first day of the tournament on Saturday but a clinical South African side rained on their parade meaning Kenyans will have to wait for yet another year before the title can come back home.
South Africa Elite Player Development (EPD), as they preferred to be called proved too strong for both Kenyan sides who had been split mainly on their strengths.
Shujaa boasted mainly powerful backs such as Collins Injera, Biko Adema and William Ambaka, while Morans comprised of the strongest forwards including Andrew Amonde, Oscar Ouma and Dan Sikuta.
SA EPD will thus take over the trophy from last year’s champions Samoa, who were not represented in this year’s edition of the tournament.
Kenyan sevens coach Mike Friday, however, is not too disappointed with the results as he once again reiterated that no instant results can be expected from the team and instead fans should be looking for improvements from where the team started.
Friday went on to expound that his main aim is to build from the experience gained from the tournament and use the observations to try and pick the most suitable side to represent Kenya in the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia in three weeks time.
This will be the opening round of the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit, and Friday has made it his prime mission of returning Kenya to their former glory of always contending in the Main Cup competition past the quarter-finals stages of every tournament.
Friday will be glad that many fans are of the opinion the team is making far less mistakes and are looking sharp.