Kenya Sevens rugby seeks new World Series financier
NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya will see another shirt sponsor in the new International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series starting next month in Dubai.
New coach Innocent Simiyu is in Namibia for the Safland Invitational Tournament to gauge their preparedness ahead of the World Series.
Other teams participating in Safland 7’s include defending champions South Africa, the United States, Germany, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Nigeria.
“The team is in good shape and we are all prepared to see how the boys will take up the pressure and see which areas need to be rectified before we face the big boys in Dubai next month,” said the coach.
The Dubai Sevens kicks off the new 2016/2017 season on December 2, where Shujaa will play Australia, France and Japan.
The administration will seek to secure another sponsor for the team after Kenya Airways announced it will not renew its deal after the expiry at the end of November. But that will not be worrying coach Simiyu, who seeks to improve the overall ranking the country got last year finishing seventh and failed to hit their 100 point tally target.
The airline has been the title sponsor since 2010 spending over 9 million U.S. dollars in cash and in kind on the Kenya Seven’s national rugby team.
“We are proud of how far the sport has come with global interest in the Kenya team’s participation in the sevens series rising by the day and appreciate the determination of our sports personalities which has cemented Kenya’s position in the top tier of the WRS circuit. Kenya Airways remains committed to supporting sports in Africa,” said Mbuvi Ngunze. “We wish the team well in the upcoming World Rugby Series.”
“Kenya airways effort to support our team in the WRS series over the years has been tremendous and we thank them,” he said.
During the time Kenya Airways was their financier, the Sevens team registered two finalist positions in the series and a series high of 99 points in the 2012-2013 series ranking finishing in the fifth place globally.
The team won a main cup in the Singapore in April 2016; qualified for the Olympics and Collins Injera was named the world’s leading try scorer during the partnership.
In Dubai, Kenya will get the tournament underway with a clash against France, Japan and Australia in Pool D.
Kenya team: Andrew Amonde (captain), Oscar Ouma, William Ambaka, Frank Wanyama, Nelson Oyoo, Leonard Mugaisi, Dan Sikuta, Billy Odhiambo, Eden Agero, Bush Mwale, Martin Owila, Augustine Lugonzo, Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda, Darwin Mukidza, Derek Mayar.