KRU shops for Kenya Sevens shirt sponsor

By the punter
Dec 14, 2021

The time is ticking for Kenya Airways' sponsorship of the Kenya Sevens rugby team who arrive at 6.30 pm today from South Africa where they finished fourth in the Cape Town Sevens, the second tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.

Richard Omwela, the KRU chairman fired a salvo at the national airline who 'sponsor' the national team.

"We have financial challenges with KQ facing tough times. We are all patriotic but I cannot remember when patriotism last paid rent for any one. KQ will have to decide whether they can hang on to the shirt or we give it to the highest bidder," Omwela said.

Some of the corporates lining up for the shirt sponsorship are Safaricom, KCB and DHL. He described the performance by Kenya in South Africa as rewarding.

"We have proved our critics wrong in proving that we have raw talent in this country. We have new revelation on the scene. Frank Wanyama, Jeff Oluoch, Nelson Oyoo, Leonard Mugaisi, Robert Aringo just to name a few.

"Benja [Benjamin Ayimba) has achieved with a quarter of the resources we spent on other coaches. We were perhaps the only team that lost with the least of margins and in the dying moments of each game. We need to hang on to a win or introduce an impact sub that can stabilize the ship," Omwela recalled in reference to narrow loses to Wales, France, Argentina and a draw to England.

Ayimba's highlight for the Cape Town and Dubai sevens was debutant Nelson Oyoo scoring five tries. "He has wheels and guts," noted the former Kenya captain.

He was not very worried about the narrow losses explaining these were learning processes when the players needed to trust and believe in the team plays.

If there was something Ayimba would tell the players, it was: "We are building our dream."

Departing from old ways

Departing from the old ways, Ayimba and his technical bench have not set a bench mark for the team to achieve, "It is too much pressure for no reason," he stated.

At the end of Cape Town Sevens, two Kenyan players, Collins Injera and William Ambaka were named in the tournament's dream team which had Justin Geduld (South Africa), Virimi Vakarawa (France, Bautista Ezcurra (Argentina), Philip Snyman (South Africa), Apisai Domolailai (Samoa).

Collins Injera and Oscar Ouma who were instrumental in Kenya's good run in Cape Town are among the seven impact players in Cape Town. Lee Jones (51) heads the list which has Savenaca Rawaca (48), Gavin Lowe (43), Injera (41), Verimi Vakatawa (40), Faalemiga Selesele (39), Oscar Ouma (37).

Kenya 22 Argentina 24

After going four matches unbeaten, Kenya narrowly lost 22-24 to Argentina in the Cup semis and France in the play-off to finish fourth in the second tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.

They collected 15 points and are now ninth, three places up from 11th after the first tournament in Dubai.

Rodrigo Etchart scored the opening try for Argentina in the fourth minute and Bautista Ezcurra converted for a 7-0 lead.

Etchart added the second try two minutes later to extend the lead 12-0. Biko Adema began the comeback for Kenya with a try in the eight minute but missed the conversion as Argentina led 12-5 at half time.

In the second half, Leonard Mugaisi was brought on and immediately after his introduction scored Kenya's second try. Adema missed the conversion as Argentina led 12-10. Argentina brought on two subsititutes in the ninth minute, German Schultz and Joaquin Andres Riera.

Schultz scored a try in the 11th minute but Ezcurra missed the conversion to stretch the lead 17-10. Riera scored and converted Argentina's try to stretch the lead 24-10.

When Santiago Gomez Cora, the Argentina coach introduced Franco Sabato in the game, Ayimba responded by emptying his bench nd bringing on Nelson Oyoo, Frank Wanyama and Robert Aringo.

It was Aringo who scored a try in the 14th minute and Adema converted to narrow the scores 24-17 in the French favor. Wanyama was next over in the 17th minute. Adema missed the conversion which could have tied the scores.

France 28 Kenya 26 (Third place play off)

In the play off, France edged out Kenya 28-26. Julien Candelon scored the decisive try at death to tie the scores 26-26 and Terry Bouhraua converted to snatch the win from Kenya.

Injera scored the first try after only two minutes and Adema converted for a 7-0 lead. France replied with a try by Stephen Parez which Bouhraoua conveted to tie the scores 7-7.

Then Pierre Gilles Lakafia scored the second try for France and Bouharaoua converted for the lead to change hand 14-7 in France's favor.

In the seventh minute, Ayimba introduced Nelson but it was Ouma scored for Kenya and Adema converted to tie the scores 14-14 at half time.

At the beginning of the second half. Ayimba brought on Leonard Mugaisi and Frank Wanyama. Oyoo crossed the line after only two minutes on the pitch as Kenya led 19-14.

The lead lasted for only two minutes in theis end-to-end action as Pierre Lakafia scored a try in the 12th minute to tie the scores 19-19. Bouhraoua converted for France to lead 21-19.

This is when Bush Mwale entered the action but it was Oyoo who scored his second try in the 14th minute and Adema converted for a 26-21 lead for Kenya. Then Candelon scored the winning try which Bouhraoua converted.

South Africs win

South Africa won own tournament by beating Argentina 29-14 in the final. The drama of teh opening day unfolded with France sensationally knocking out the form team Fiji 17-14 in the cup quarter final and Kenya overcoming USA 26-10. Samoa won the Shield by beating Russia 40-5 while Scotland stunned England 19-0 in the Bowl final.

Fiji took the Plate by beating USA 29-19. If there was a fair play award, it could have been given to Sir Gordont Tietjens who espite being plauged by injuries soldiered on and lost to the USA 14-28 in the Platesemi-finals. The next lef in in Wellington at the end of January.

 Knock out results

Cup quarters: Fiji 14 France 17, Australia 5 South Africa 25, New Zealand 19 Argentina 22, Kenya 26 USA 10; Semi finals: France 12 South Africa 21, Argentina 24 Kenya 22; Final: South Africa 29 Argentina 14;  Play off: Kenya 26 France 28; Plate semis: Fiji 38 Australia 19, New Zealand 14 USA 28; Final: Fiji 29 USA 19.; Bowl quarters: Scotland 26 Samoa 14, Wales 21 Zimbabwe 12, Canada 55 Russia 0, England 49 Portugal 7; Semi finals: Scotland 29 Wales 14, Canada 14 England 21; Final: Scotland 19 England 0; Shield semis: Samoa 33 Zimbabwe 0, Russia 38 Portugal 5; Final: Samoa 40 Russia 5.

Cape Town Sevens results

Pool A: Fiji. Argentina, Scotland, Russia; Fiji 34 Scotland 19, Argentina 33 Russia 5, Fiji 52 Russia 0, Argentina 19 Scotland 14, Scotland 33 Russia 10, Fiji 43 Argentina 0: Pool B: England, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe; England 19 Kenya 19, South Africa 26 Zimbabwe 5, England 43 Zimbabwe 0, South Africa 12 Kenya 14, Kenya 36 Zimbabwe 0, England 0 South Africa 10; Pool C: USA, Australia, Wales, Portugal; USA 26 Wales 19, Australia 45 Portugal 0, USA 52 Portugal 7, Australia 21 Wales 14, Wales 40 Portugal 5, USA 21 Australia 26; Pool D: New Zealand, Samoa, France, Canada: New Zealand 19 France 14, Samoa 24 Canada 10, New Zealand 12 Canada 24, Samoa 19 France 22, France 26 Canada 26, New Zealand 19 Samoa 10.

Ranking after Cape Town Sevens:  Fiji 35 (249 pts), South Africa 35 (182), Argentina 29 (79), USA 29 (-59), England 26 (108), France 25 (89), New Zealand 25 (2), Australia 22 (53), Kenya 20 (18), Scotland 15 (33), Samoa 13 (25), Wales 10 (-40), Canada 8 (-14), Russia 3 (-252), Japan 2 (-7), Portugal 2 (-325), Zimbabwe 1.