Last updated 9 months ago | By Clement Wekulo
With the Safari Sevens dust having settled, the national men’s rugby team has set sights on the Africa Sevens-cum-2020 Olympic qualifiers slated for next month in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The continental showpiece will be played at the Bosman stadium between November 8-9 with the winner sealing automatic qualification to the Olympic Games.
Kenya , who are coached by New Zealander Paul Feeney, fielded two sides at the Safari Sevens over the weekend with the second-string outfit, Morans claiming the Main Cup while the first team, Shujaa settled for third position in the three-day event which was marred by heavy rains.
A good number of new entrants to the national team set up, among them Nakuru RFC’s Monate Akuei and half-back Ian Mabwa, both who represented the Morans, staked a claim in Feeney’s final squad for the Africa Sevens as they played a pivotal role in Morans’ march to the Safari Sevens title.
It was by no fluke that the diminutive Mabwa, who plays for Kenya’s oldest rugby club Nondescripts, made it to the Safari Sevens team of the tournament that also had South African trio of Siviwe Soyizwapi, Impi Visser and Selvyn Davids.
After being granted two days for recovery, Kenya Sevens is expected to resume training tomorrow ahead of their assignment in the South African city.
“They will have to perform in training in order to make it to the final squad. We have a lot of areas to work on for example line outs, fitness and structure and the boys know that,” Feeney said following Morans’ 19-14 win over South Africa in the Safari Sevens final.
Feeney’s sentiments were echoed by Jeffrey Oluoch, the captain of the Morans team, with the Homeboyz RFC man attributing their win to the hunger exhibited by the players who were making their debuts.
“The win was a good confidence booster ahead of the Olympic qualifiers but still there is a lot of work to be done. It was a good feeling especially for the young players who are fighting for places in the final squad,” said Oluoch, one of the try scorers in the final.
Kenya will be sweating over the fitness of their key player Collins Injera who suffered an arm injury in what was his first involvement with the team since last year’s Sevens World Cup in the USA.