Age groups competition set the ball rolling as Safari Sevens rugby kick-off at Nyayo
The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla is optimistic of a successful 23rd edition of the Safari Sevens rugby tournament set to kick off this morning with mixed tag rugby age grades U-12 and U-14 before leaving the arena at 2 pm for the Veterans to revive their good old days.
This year’s edition will have a designated village where fans can purchase food and drinks but there will be no after-party like in previous editions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Gangla on phone, the People Sports learnt that six teams had already arrived in the country as of yesterday afternoon with most of them having disclosed their squads apart from Shujaa and Morans who are set to release names of 24 players today morning at the RFUEA grounds after their final morning session.
“This is a great moment for rugby in Kenya and we will ensure the security is top-notch and all the necessary protocols and precautions are adhered to without fail.
Six of the teams are already in the country and we are looking forward to the rest of the teams touching anytime from now,” KRU boss Gangla Oduor told People Sports.
The event that once broke the attendance record in 2013 by having 48,000 fans on the first day at Moi Kasarani Stadium will this year allow no more than 20,000 fans a day to give room for social distancing despite news to allow the fans back to the stadium coming just a week to the event that had been initially planned as a no-spectator competition.
“The age-grade rugby is a perfect way to showcase the emerging talent in the country while the veterans will get the chance to recall their memories, as I can recall the last edition I played back in 2012.
We have got very good support from the Ministry of Sports Culture and heritage, our broadcast partner Mediamax, Cocacola, Lucozadeand AAR.
More importantly, is the fact we have the fans onboard and that is the best part because rugby enthusiasts can now enjoy the game in a fuller way,” he added.
The Age grade competition will feature both U12 and U14 mixed tag rugby categories divided into four pools.
A total of 32 teams will battle in the age-grades category while the veterans aged 35 years and above will be a six-team competition that will take over the pitch starting at 2pm.
Only the top two sides from each pool will advance to the direct cup semi-finals.
Pool A of the Vets competition will have BlakBlad, Mwamba, and KCB while pool B will have BATUK, Kenya Harlequins and Nondescripts.