The Emirates Invitational 7s is a competitive training camp that kicked off on March 26th and will run until the 10th of April, with a total of fourteen teams, Lionesses and Shula included, participating and operating in bio-bubbles.
The teams have been training at The Sevens Stadium and the same venue will host the weekend competitions.
Speaking after the captains’ runs, the Lionesses’ head coach Felix Oloo said, “training has been great so far seeing as each and every single player has improved on their performance and it will be very exciting to see how they express themselves on the pitch. We might be the underdogs given the fact that we’re playing against World Series core teams but I believe that if you’re to be the best, always play against the best. This training camp is very important because it’ll help us gauge ourselves as we near the Olympics and to also see how much we’ve improved from the Madrid7s tournament in February,”
His counterpart and Shujaa’s Head Coach Innocent Simiyu added that he’s happy with how his side has transitioned from local training to this camp. “The boys are looking good and we’re now playing the game of wait-and-see but we’re very hopeful that they will perform well. The competition is definitely going to be more competitive seeing as we have eight teams now and majority are core sides of the HSBC World Sevens Series. For us it’ll be a good gauge on where we’re as a nation.”
Both teams are aiming for a top three finish this weekend.
On a sad note, Samuel Oliech will be out of action after he tore his Achilles during training on Tuesday. His surgery was successfully completed on Wednesday and we’re wishing him a full recovery. “He had really worked hard to get back to the team and it’s very gutting to see him sit out the next few months but we’re hopeful that he will get back onto the pitch later in the year,” he concluded.
The Kenya Rugby Union extends its gratitude to the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund and NOC-K who have played a huge role in ensuring that our teams honoured this invitation to take part in the camp. The fund’s main goal is to raise funds to facilitate growth of the sports industry in the country while NOCK had taken both teams to camps locally as they continue their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
The women’s competition will adopt the round robin format while the men’s will be in two pools in day one while day two will purely be knockouts.
Lionesses Day one schedule(in EAT)
8:52am: Japan vs Lionesses
12:54pm: Lionesses vs Canada
3:50pm: USA vs Lionesses
8:00am: Lionesses vs Brazil
10:34am: France 2 vs Lionesses
1:52pm: France 1 vs Lionesses
Pool Red: Japan, Canada, Uganda, Argentina
Pool Blue: France, Spain, Kenya, Chile
Shujaa’s day one schedule(in EAT)
10:42am: Shujaa vs Chile
2:44pm: France vs Shujaa
5:18pm: Spain vs Shujaa
Due to the local authority guidelines, the matches will not be broadcasted live but there will be live updates on the @kenyasevens and @kenyalioness Twitter handles as well as the Kenya Rugby Facebook page.