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Shujaa keen to pick massive wins in Africa Men’s 7s


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Kenya 7s national team; Shujaa will be in the hunt for maximum wins when they kick off their Africa Men’s 7s matches in Harare, Zimbabwe on Saturday, 16 September. The Africa Men’s 7s tournament will serve as the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers.

Shujaa made their Olympics debut during the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil and they competed in the 2020 Japan Olympics without much success, having bowed out in the preliminary rounds on both occasions but they will be hoping to turn things around this time if the secure the ticket. They have been placed in Pool B together with Nigeria, Namibia, and Zambia.

The team which has six debutants has had an intensive two-month training stint as they hope to seal the automatic slot to the Paris Olympics next year, especially after getting relegated from the World Sevens Series in London in May.

What makes their journey to the 2024 Paris Olympics an uphill one is the presence of African powerhouses South Africa. Their fellow Africans will be playing in the qualifiers for the first time after missing out on the automatic qualifying slots to the global games during the World Sevens Series last season, where they finished seventh.

The top four finishers in the Series, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentina, and France, automatically qualified for the Paris Games.

Shujaa will open their campaign against minnows Nigeria at 11:06 a.m. on Saturday. They then face Namibia at 1:50 p.m. before concluding their preliminary matches against Zambia at 4:34 p.m.

According to newly elected coach Kevin Wambua, his charges have been doing video reviews of all their competitors and will handle them as they come.

“We have done extensive reviews on our opponents on Day One. We are not taking them for granted but we will go all out for wins to ensure we top the pool and face a competitive opponent in the quarterfinals,” Wambua said.

The Mwamba RFC tactician further pointed out that the team was unfazed by the prospect of his charges facing South Africa.

“To qualify we have to play the best teams and if it’s going to be South Africa or Zimbabwe or Uganda, we are more than ready. If anything South Africa is under more pressure than we are,” noted Wambua.

Wambua will rely on vintage players in the squad with the likes of skipper Vincent Onyala, Brian Tanga, and Kelvin Wekesa taking the lead. Samuel Asati’s scrum mastery and the brilliance and hard running of Festus Shiasi and George Ooro will also come in handy.

Kenya 7s captain Vincent Onyala revealed that the side was set to go after a solid training season.

“It’s a young side but a good number of us have played for three to four years and we are helping the younger players, who have shown that they have no fear,” noted Onyala.

The top two teams from the Rugby Africa 7s will also qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Challenger Series.

Shujaa Pool Fixtures | Saturday 16 September

1106 | v Nigeria

1350 | v Namibia

1634 | v Zambia

Shujaa Squad: Vincent Onyala (KCB, co-captain), Tony Omondi (Mwamba, co-captain), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar), Kevin Wekesa (Kabras Sugar), John Okoth (Menengai Oilers), George Ooro (Strathmore Leos), Samuel Asati (KCB)*, Nygel Amaitsa (Strathmore Leos)*, William Mwanji (Kabras Sugar) *, Beldad Ogeta (Menengai Oilers) *, Patrick Odongo (Daystar Falcons) *, Festus Shiasi (KCB)*

Coaching: Kevin Wambua (Head Coach), Louis Kisia (Assistant Coach), Andrew Amonde (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Lamech Bogonko (Physio), Steven Sewe (Team Manager)

*Denotes debutants

NON TRAVELLING RESERVES: Elvis Olukusi (KCB), Fidens Tony (Nondescripts), Ronnie Omondi (Mwamba)


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