Kenya's Shujaa back in the World Sevens Series

rugby03 June 2024 05:45| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
article image
Kevin Wambua © Twitter

Kenya’s Shujaa made it back to the main HSBC World SVNS series after a hectic qualifier weekend that saw two regular sevens teams being relegated to the Challenger Series for next season.

The Shujaa, who never qualified for the first SVNS series after finishing 13th in last season’s Series, forced their way through a tough qualifying tournament where the bottom four teams of the SVNS faced the top four teams of the Challenger Series in a promotion-relegation battle.

New coach Kevin Wambua watched as his side followed up their shock African Cup win over the Blitzboks in Zimbabwe last year to qualify for the Olympics, with a weekend of action that gained them access back into the top tier of Sevens rugby.

Kenya beat Samoa 19-12 in their opening game, then had a narrow 10-5 loss to Spain before beating Chile 36-7 in their pool matches but confirmed their Series status by beating Germany 33-15 on Sunday in their big match qualifier final.

“We were confident that we could play our own game, and claw our way back into the Series, and that is what we did,” a happy Kenyan head coach Kevin Wambua told journalist Eric Odanga after his side won qualification back into the main tournament.

Wambua said the team had wanted to succeed and thanked a large Kenyan fan contingent for supporting them, the contingent that has been missing in this year’s SVNS series in their absence.

“The fans gave us a lot of pride and pushed us when we needed it. That was fantastic and this win is for them.”

Wambua reflected after achieving the team’s goals of qualifying for the Olympics and getting Kenya back to the World Series in his first year of coach.

“All the glory goes to God. I worked hard, but without God we wouldn’t be here. I have to thank him for this opportunity with this team to succeed.”

After the tournament Kenya were promoted alongside Uruguay, while USA and Spain kept their spots in the top tier.

The teams that were relegated were Samoa, who had a disappointing tournament, not winning a match in Madrid, and Canada, who have been a regular feature on the Series since its inception.

Both teams will have to play in the second tier Challenger Series and try and win back promotion in Madrid next season.