President Uhuru Kenyatta has congratulated the Kenya men’s rugby sevens, Shujaa, for reclaiming the Africa sevens title and qualifying for the 2020 Olympic games due in Tokyo, Japan.
Shujaa, reclaimed the African title after a 31-0 win over Uganda in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday.
Uhuru said that Shujaa’s qualification and that of the Kenya Lionesses for the Olympics, was a sign of Kenya’s rugby rising. He promised both teams his maximum support.
“Congratulations Kenya Sevens for reclaiming the Africa Sevens title and qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in style. Your qualification and that of the Kenya Lionesses for the Olympics is a sign that our rugby is once again on the rise,” President Kenyatta said.
Shujaa, becomes the second Kenyan team to book a slot at the Summer Games following in the footsteps of their women counterparts, the Lionesses, who punched the ticket to the quadrennial event last month.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that, Kenya captain Andrew Amonde opened the scoring as he crossed the whitewash for a try that was converted by Daniel Taabu. Taabu then converted his own try to give Shujaa a 14-0 advantage at half-time.
Amonde turned provider, setting up Jeffrey Oluoch for Shujaa’s third converted try before Oscar Dennis joined the scorer’s list with a quick brace of tries.
It was an inspiring performance from Kenya, whose win over the Uganda ensured they will return to the Olympics having made their debut at the 2016 edition in Brazil.
Having topped pool B with three wins in three, including a 24-7 victory over neighbours Uganda on Saturday, Shujaa proceeded to the semi-finals where they dismissed Madagascar 40-14 to set up a repeat against Uganda in the title decider.
Against Madagascar, Kenya were given an early scare as the Islanders took a 7-0 lead with a converted try before Kenya responded through Nelson Oyoo.
Madagascar would retake the lead before Alvin Otieno ensured the sides went to half-time tied 14-14. Second half tries by Vincent Onyala, Bush Mwale, William Ambaka and Alvin Otieno sealed Kenya’s win.
Uganda and Zimbabwe who finished third, will have a second chance to reach the Olympics when they participate in the Repechage tournament against best losers from other regions.
The pair will also compete at next year’s World Sevens Series qualifier in Hong Kong where they will try to become core teams.
Shujaa are the ninth side to qualify for the men’s rugby Sevens Olympics as they join hosts Japan, Fiji, South Africa, USA and New Zealand who made it courtesy of a top four finish in the 2018-19 World Sevens Series.
Argentina, Canada and Great Britain will also be in Tokyo having won their respective regional qualifiers.
The remaining three slots will be filled by teams from Asia and Oceania regions as well as the Repechage tournament slated for June next year.