Kenya to be second African rugby team for Tokyo Olympics

Kenya to be second African rugby team for Tokyo Olympics

Agency News

Nairobi, Sep 15 : Kenya is hopeful to be the second team from Africa that will compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games after South Africa clinched its ticket finishing fourth in the World Series.

With 14 teams lining up for the Africa qualifiers in Johannesburg from Nov. 8-9, Kenya must display its best game to secure their fort and make the second show at the Olympics after their debut in Rio back in 2016. Head coach Paul Murunga will use the Safari Sevens international tournament in Nairobi next month to prepare for the Africa qualifiers.

In Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria will battle it out with the winner making to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

"We need to win the Safari Sevens against top teams that compete in the World Series. Then we have the Africa qualifiers, which we have to endure another challenge from 14 teams," said Murunga on Saturday in Nairobi.

West Africa's giants Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria, finalists of the Regional Sevens tournament last year in Abidjan, have qualified as the 13th and 14th teams in the Africa Olympic Games qualifiers.

"Africa aims for high level and international recognition, and I believe Sevens rugby is the right format to promote and reveal our talents in Africa and especially as far as women's rugby is concerned," said Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou. "I therefore extend my encouragement to all our athletes who are preparing for this event and expect high-level rugby in October in Tunisia (women) and in November in South Africa (men)," Babbou added. Without South Africa, who have already qualified, Kenya will have a higher chance of making it through as the second highest ranked side for the tournament.

"With the top four placed teams in the men's and women's World Series the first to guarantee Olympic qualification, the regional qualifiers will form the heart of a truly global qualification process that promotes universality and competitively," said Bill, Beaumont World Rugby chairman.(XINHUA)