Kenya 7s chase Rio dream

By: AYUMBA AYODI

Favourites Kenya launch their Rio Olympics rugby sevens qualifier Saturday from 11am against Mauritius 11am at Barnard Stadium, Johannesburg.

The Kenyans will then take on Senegal at 1.42pm before wrapping up their Pool A assignment Madagascar at 4.14pm. Kenya, a core team in the World Rugby Sevens Series, are highly tipped to win with ease and top the pool going into tomorrow’s knockout stage.

Pool B has Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria while Pool C consists of Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco and Botswana.

The top eight teams will proceed to the Main Cup quarter-finals tomorrow, and the four lower-ranked teams face-off in the Bowl section.

Kenya will anticipate an explosive clash with their key rivals Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Interestingly, Namibia have engaged former Kenya Sevens tacticians Vuyo Zangqa and Graham Bentz who were fired by Kenyan rugby union in September.

The winners will join automatic qualifiers South Africa for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as Africa’s representatives.

Rugby will be making a return after nine decades.

The next three teams will have another opportunity to make it to Rio through the final qualification tournament next year. The 2014/15 World Sevens Series winners Fiji alongside South Africa, New Zealand and Great Britain, who finished the Series in that order, and hosts Brazil gained automatic qualification for the 2016 Summer Games.

“I know what Namibia have done besides pitching camp in South Africa. Zimbabwe too have been training in South Africa after Safari Sevens but we are not worried,” said Kenya coach Benjamin Ayimba.

William Ambaka, who featured for Kenya at the 2013 World Cup and Dennis Ombachi makes a return. Other notable inclusions are exciting new comers Frank Wanyama and Jeff Oluoch.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION