Jubilant Shujaa look forward to Olympics glory
National Sevens rugby team returned back to the country after a well deserved 31-0 Africa cup final victory over Uganda to secure a place in the 12-team Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Upon touching down at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport yesterday evening, Shujaa coach Paul Feeney believed the Africa cup was a good ground to try out new structures for the 2019/20 World HSBC sevens opener legs and the Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo on July 24 to August 9, next year.
“It is the players dream to return back to Olympics and they are very excited about being Olympians. We started off well, tried our new structures and combinations and am happy we did really well on both days and we take the few lessons to the upcoming HSBC series preparation and the Olympics as well,” Feeney said after landing at the JKIA yesterday.
More work ahead
Backing Feeney’s comments was Shujaa assistant coach Kevin Wambua.
“We have just qualified for the Olympics and that means there is more work ahead. We also want to register good results in the upcoming series opener in Dubai next month,” Wambua told PD Sport.
Commenting on the new task Wambua added that unlike the previous condemned 11th finish in the 12-team event.
“We want to give a good account of ourselves this time heading to the Tokyo 2020 Games, go for better results and we believe we can and get a good podium finish this time,” Wambua added.
Kenya had failed to capture the continental title after three editions won by Uganda in 2016 and 2017 while Zimbabwe beat Kenya 17-5 in the cup final staged in Monastir, Tunisia to win the 2018 edition. Zimbabwe was eliminated 21-12 by Uganda in the other cup semi-finals but finished third after beating Mauritius in the bronze play off.
It is the second time Shujaa has qualified for the quadrennial event after the Rio 2016 and as the second team after Kenya team after Lionesses women’s team to qualify for the competition at the same venue last month.
After a much scrappy pool match against Uganda that ended with a knocked ball metres away from the try line, Shujaa recovered foot to return stronger on the second day to eliminated Mauritius 40-14 in the semis to proceed to nail Uganda by 31 unanswered points.
Oscar Dennis scored a brace in the finals, Captain Andrew Amonde, his vice captain Jeff Oluoch and Daniel Taabu scored a try each to ensure Kenya reclaimed the title in style.