Jonah Lomu, acknowledged as one of the best rugby players could grace this year’s Safari Sevens if the organizers manage to get a nod from his agent.
For over three years now, the Safari Sevens organizers have tried to entice the rugby legend and former New Zealand great.
They have so far landed Waisale Serevi, Chester Williams and Gordon Tietjens among others.
Two years ago, Lomu had told Sportsnewsarena.com that he would be willing to travel to Kenya in the near future. Lomu was recently in Fiji.
In the meantime, star studded Samurai side comprising six All Blacks Sevens players and the Fijian captain, are among those expected in this year’s Safaricom Sevens which will take place on September 21-23 at the Nyayo Stadium.
Already, 10 So teams have confirmed participation. These are Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, South Africa Sevens Academy (Emerging Boks), Shujaa, Grenoble, British Army and Samurai.
Safaricom’s three year sponsorship deal which was worth Sh30.2 million ends this year. Said Nzioka Waita, Director – Corporate Affairs: “As title sponsors, we are working closely with Kenya Rugby Union to raise the standards of this event so that we can finally realize the dream of being incorporated into the IRB circuit."
The organizers of the 17th Edition have stated that the decision to return the tournament to Nyayo stadium was informed by positive feedback from rugby fans.
The venue has been hailed for its enhanced seating capacity and easy accessibility from as being secure and accessible from various points of Nairobi.
“In the time that this tournament has been in existence, we have seen the Safaricom Sevens grow in leaps and bounds.
Our goal ultimate goal is to get admission into the IRB series while at the same time ensuring that our fans have a great experience,” said Mwangi Muthee, KRU chairman.
“This year’s tournament will also provide fans with the chance to see a revamped Kenyan national team begin the quest for glory ahead of the 2012-2013 international sevens season, whose highlight will be the Rugby World Cup Sevens to be held in Russia,” added Muthee.
In keeping with tradition, tournament organizers have also scheduled subsidiary tournaments for schools, women and community rugby which is in line with Safaricom’s and KRU’s vision of spreading the game to a wider populace.
After an organizational and administrative hiccup last year, KRU returned Roger Berbington and Sadik Makii to the organizing committee.