The curtain came down on the 24th edition of the Safari 7s tournament, the premier continental rugby event, hosted in Kenya at the Nyayo National Stadium on the 30th and 31st of October 2021.
Despite the health challenges that led to the global shutdown of similar events, including our own 2020 edition, we are grateful that this year’s edition, previously doubtful for a myriad of reasons, came to fruition due to the unceasing belief, commitment and follow-through by many key actors.
We were privileged to host visiting teams Uganda (men and women), Zimbabwe (men and women), Spain, Germany, SA All Stars 7s Academy, Nigeria Stallions alongside touring sides (multiple champions) Samurai, Red Wailers and SA Titans.
Our national teams – Lionesses, Shujaa, Morans and Chipu (U20) shone during the event. Lioinesses and Shujaa won the gold medal in their respective categories underscoring their championship credentials while Morans won the bronze medal. The Chipu team showed that we have a strong pipeline of emerging talented players who will fly our flag high in future events. Special mention to our National Sevens Circuit champions, KCB Rugby Club, who put in a commendable display with a youthful team.
Our very special thanks and appreciation go out to our Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohammed and PS Joe Okudo for their personal intervention, presence and constant encouragement that enabled us to host this event successfully.
We also warmly appreciate the office of the Commissioner of Sports and the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund who have greatly supported the KRU in all its activities.
After a Covid19-related hiatus, the Government, through the Sports Ministry has this year come through with further disbursements which have enabled us to host the Barthes Cup, the Rugby Africa Cup qualifiers in Nairobi last July as well as Kenya 7s excursion to the World Sevens Series events in Canada in September 2021. We also hosted the Women’s World Cup Qualifier Match against Colombia in August 2021.
Today, the Kenya men’s 15s National Team (Simbas) will head out to Stellenbosch, South Africa for the quadrangular tournament organized by World Rugby which will also feature Zimbabwe, Brazil and Namibia, in preparation for next year’s Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament in France. All these activities have received significant support from the Government.
We would also like to thank all our sponsors and partners who came through for us at short notice, purely for the love of the sport. Special mention to Mediamax/K24 TV (our broadcast partners), AAR Healthcare, Coca Cola, M-Tickets, Lucozade and Mesh+. They came on board despite knowing that covid-19 protocols, the on-going construction of Mombasa Road and likelihood of rainy weather would affect fan numbers.
I would personally like to thank KRU Board Members and secretariat, the Local Organising Committee, volunteers, Kenya Rugby Referees Society, Medical Teams, Citing and Judicial Officers, Media teams, independent photographers and all role players for pitching in to make what must have seemed insurmountable in the beginning, possible.
Finally, we reserve our most profound thanks for the fans of Kenyan Rugby, those who were able to make it physically to the event, and those who followed it on TV. Fans are the elixir which spurs the growth of the sport, and makes it attractive to sponsors and Government.
The last year and a half has most certainly been challenging, with the unavailability of regular season events like the leagues, the local 7s circuit and others. We know that fans are itching to get back to Rugby events and we will continue working with the Ministry of Sports to ensure that local rugby at all levels returns safely and we retain compliance with the protocols.
But, from us here at KRU, a big salute to everyone!
KENYA RUGBY UNION