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Kenya aim to retain Africa rugby sevens crown in Nairobi tourney

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Winning the Safaricom Sevens rugby is high on the priority list for Kenya rugby sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba even as his jobs hangs by the thread.

The tournament, which is used to gauge the team’s preparedness ahead of the new International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series, has attracted 12 teams from Africa and will also serve as the Africa Cup Sevens tournament. Champions Kenya have been seeded first.

This year’s tournament will start on Sept. 23.

"I am still hungry and want to win the tournament.

"I have nothing more to prove to the rugby officials because I have done well compared to the resources available.

"I hope to make the cut and retain my position as coach.

"But what is important is to win the Africa Cup Sevens tourney," Ayimba said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The East African nation has advertised the Kenya Sevens head coach job but maintained Ayimba will be in charge of the Safaricom Sevens.

Ayimba has expressed willingness to reapply for the position, which he took over from Paul Treu of South Africa, who had replaced Felix Ochieng (Kenya) and Mike Friday (England).

Kenya are in Pool A with Nigeria and Senegal. Zimbabwe, last year’s losing finalists are in Pool B with Uganda and Mauritius.

Morocco headline Pool C where they are grouped with Zambia and Madagascar. Tunisia are in Pool D alongside Namibia and Botswana.

Since the inception of the event, it has attracted the world-class players, giving plenty of action and excitement to the fans while also providing the platform for the team to test its strength and weakness in a competitive session prior to jumping into the IRB World Series.

Over 16 teams from different parts of the world participate in this tournament, but this year it will be exclusive to the African teams as it is used as the continental Sevens cup.

The tournament has in the past attracted teams from New Zealand, Spain, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Fiji, Australia, Portugal, England and France.

Meanwhile, Kenya Lionesses, the women’s sevens team, arrived home safely from Zimbabwe where they finished second in the Rugby Africa Women Sevens tournament held in Harare.

They lost in the final 22-17 to South Africa.



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