Lionesses Head Coach Dennis Mwanja has paid glowing tribute to his players after their fourth place finish at the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Santiago, Chile.
Speaking to KRU Media, the former Shujaa captain said, “This tournament was a good outing for us. The girls got to play and gauge themselves against very worthy opponents. We all believe this is the level Kenya Lionesses should be playing, and how we pray we could get more exposure. While the others have the resources and facilities to get the relevant exposure, we are left to our own devices but nonetheless the girls gave a good account of themselves.”
He talked about the team’s spirit and determination, saying, “They were so determined to get to the series, having faith that it would open doors for greater opportunities. When they lost, they did not lose lying down and this is a major take home. “
“We are going to build on that energy going forward, we are going to continue working on our depth and skills. We have a lot of potential as this team is a mixture of youth and experience and I am looking at getting more younger players involved as we get back to the basics and work on fine skills in the team. This will eventually enable us to be very competitive as we prepare for the Olympic qualifiers,” he added.
“These girls are energetic, they have that passion, they have that drive. I am happy with them, I am happy with the attitude they have, their commitment, their discipline and the sacrifices they have made, going for a couple of months without pay. These are the makings of a great team. Prior to the Rugby Africa 7s in Tunisia, I had just been with the team for three weeks but have had more concrete sessions with them since May and I believe there has been a significant turnaround and growth. I know that with more support, the Lionesses can scale the heights of global rugby but this can only happen if there’s more women’s rugby being played across the board, ” he concluded.
Meanwhile, China recovered from their semi-final disappointment to exact revenge on Kenya, who beat them on Friday, defeating the Lionesses 31-5 in the bronze final.
Tries from Yan Melling, Sun Yue and Gu Yaoyao put the Chinese 19-0 up at the break and they wrapped up third place with second-half scores from Wang Xiao and another for Yue.
Christabel Lindo scored the Lionesses consolation try.