Kenya crowned Rugby Africa Sevens Cup champions
Story by Raynald Ngwarati
ZIMBABWE emerged as the fourth-best team at the Rugby Africa Sevens Cup tournament which was won by the Kenya Sevens who beat South Africa in the Cup final of the Africa Sevens tournament at Harare Sports Club this Sunday.
An exciting two days of beautiful rugby action came to a thrilling conclusion this Sunday at Harare Sports Club, with Kenya being crowned as the new Rugby Africa Sevens Cup champions.
A bumper crowd from across Africa thronged the venue to watch their teams in action, with prayers centered on Lady Luck’s delivery of good fortunes.
A sizeable crowd from defending champions Uganda, eventual champions Kenya, and the host nation were present to witness a historic sevens rugby day.
The script however did not read the home advantage but chose the visitors as Kenya’s Shujaa Sevens emerged the elite team after beating South Africa 17-12 in the final.
Hosts Zimbabwe could not complement the eighth man, finishing the twelve-team tournament as the fourth-best team on the continent.
There was no room for a repeat of history as well, with Uganda failing to retain their title after losing to South Africa in the semifinals.
With Olympic qualification on the line, it became a battle of regions between two Southern African teams and two East African countries in the final two matches of the tourney.
The Cheetahs of Zimbabwe could not tie the knot with success, despite a healthy attendance by local fans as they lost to eventual champions Kenya in the semis, before a 24-13 defeat to Uganda in the third-place playoff.
In the end, Kenya’s victory over the Cheetahs was a warning that the Blitzboks of South Africa failed to heed, that the Shujaa Sevens were destined to be champions.
Despite a first-half lead, South Africa failed to hold on to their lead, and ended up settling for second place, and will need playoffs alongside third-placed Uganda to qualify for the Olympics, whilst holders Kenya can now start their preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic games.
Zimbabwe finished fourth after losing to the Cranes of Uganda.