As the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi prepares to host the 2023 Safari Sevens starting this Saturday, all eyes will be on the defending champions, Shujaa of Kenya.
The top seeds for this year’s event include Kenya and the 2021 losing finalists, Germany.
Shujaa is set to lead Group A, sharing the spotlight with Red Wailers, Uganda, SA All Stars, and Tropic 7s. In Group B, Germany will face off against Kenya Morans, Samurai, KCB, and Western Province Select.
The women’s competition will be headlined by the Lionesses, featuring Uganda, TUKS Sevens, Cubs, and Tropic Sevens. Vincent Onyala and Tony Omondi will co-captain the Shujaa side, which boasts players like Herman Humwa, John Okoth, and Samuel Asati.
The Morans, co-captained by Elvis Olukusi and Chrisant Ojwang’, will showcase talents like Gabriel Ayimba, whose late father Benjamin Ayimba played and coached Shujaa to victory at this tournament over a decade ago, along with Richard Omedo.
Leading the Lionesses in the women’s competition are Sheila Chajira and Maureen Muritu, with key players in the Cubs including Diana Omosso and Freshia Awino.
Sasha Mutai, the Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, expressed optimism about the tournament, emphasizing the extensive preparations to maintain its significance in the rugby calendar.
He noted the tournament’s pivotal role in rugby development, showcasing local and international talent. Mutai highlighted the event’s momentous nature as it marks the beginning of Shujaa’s journey back to the World Series and follows their Paris 2024 Olympics qualification.
Mutai views the tournament as a key preparatory event for the Paris 2024 Olympics, providing an invaluable platform for teams like Shujaa and the Lionesses to refine their skills for the international stage.
The participation of African squads and international powerhouses is deemed crucial, offering a unique opportunity to challenge the African champions on their home ground.
The Safari Sevens, an annual rugby sevens tournament held in Nairobi, Kenya, welcomes international representative sides, professional and amateur clubs, invitational teams, university, and school teams.
Group A: Shujaa, Red Wailers, Uganda, SA All Stars, Tropic Sevens
Group B: Germany, Morans, Samurai, KCB, Western Province Select
Women: Lionesses, Uganda, TUKS Sevens, Cubs, Tropic Sevens