Kenya women’s team eye Dubai sevens glory

Dec 01, 2021
  • Kenya women's teams at the 2011 Safari Sevens tournament.

After two previous appearances of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International invitational tournament the Kenya Women’s Lionesses are not only eyeing a semi-final berth this year but are also out to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.

The Kenyan team made their debut at the invitational event in 2009 where they lost all their matches but improved last year to make the Cup quarters. The Lionesses, formed six years ago, are fully aware that a semi-final or final qualification will be extremely significant in their quest for recognition.

 “This being our third year is a strong point for us. The first time in 2009 we lost all our matches case of stage fright, last year it was a case of comparing ourselves with the best teams, now its our chance to show that we are not pushovers,” said Sammy Kemmey, Kenyan coach after leading his girls through a light work out, a few hours after arriving in Dubai ahead of the event kick off Friday 2 at the 7he stadium.

“Now its time to go past the quarters, semis would be good and maybe even make the finals. Our dream is to play with the best rugby nations at all levels “added Aberdneen Shikoyi the team captain. 

Indeed the 2011 Elgon cup champions are on the right path to growth, with a second club in the country formed Vivi joining the established Mwamba women’s club.

They not only beat Uganda to the cross-border regional cup in June but also to the Safari Sevens title a few months later, a rewarding achievement for the Kenyan ladies as they look to match the success of the men’s team in the shorter version of the game.

Another high for the Lioness was the third place finish at the Botswana sevens in October which saw South Africa and Uganda who have dominated the women’s game in Africa take the top two spots respectively.

“We have a made a big improvement in our game and I think this is another good chance to show what we are made of and that we can compete with the top ranked team, “noted Kemmey making reference to the IRB Women’s Sevens challenge Cup which will see Australia, USA, Canada, England, Spain, South Africa, Brazil and China compete for the Women’s Cup honours in Dubai.

“In Botswana we pushed South Africa to the edge and lost just 10-7 in the Cup so I think if we play well here tomorrow, next year we will play in the Cup challenge.”

Kenya has been drawn in a tricky pool A alongside France, the Moscow region team and the Tukkies Ladies team from South Africa a regular feature in international women’s competition.

Pool B has Netherlands, Maple Leafs (Canada), Ukraine’s Iron Ladies and Globaleye(England).

“We just have to be very tactical against this teams tomorrow (Saturday) because they all have lanky and powerful forwards so the trick is to play a fast game and possibly tire them out in the hot conditions.”

Kenya is without two of their key players assistant captain Annita Omondi and Kate Abilla who could not travel due to private commitments.

Order of play: 11:00 a.m Maple Leafs vs Netherlands, 11:00 a.m France vs Kenya Lionesses, 11:20am Region vs Tuks Ladies Rugby, 11:20am Iron Ladies vs Team Globaleye , 1:40m France vs Tuks Ladies Rugby, 1:40 p.m Maple Leafs vs Team Globaleye, 2:00pm Iron Ladies vs Netherlands, 2:00 p.m Moscow Region vs Kenya Lionesses, 8:40pm Netherlands vs Team Globaleye, 8:52pm France vs Moscow Region 9:00 Maple Leafs vs Iron Ladies , 9:12pm Kenya Lionesses vs Tuks Ladies Rugby.

 

 

Evelyn Watta in Dubai

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