Kenya 7s rules social media after epic Singapore heroics

Kenya Sevens team celebrates Collins Injera's second try in their Singapore 7s final against Fiji ...
Kenya Sevens team celebrates Collins Injera's second try in their Singapore 7s final against Fiji on Sunday, April 17, 2016. PHOTO/World Rugby

Kenyans took over social media space after their rugby sevens team stunned number one ranked Fiji 30-7 to lift their first ever HSBC World Sevens Series Main Cup title on Sunday in Singapore.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto took to Twitter and Facebook, the two most-popular social media platforms in the country to hail Benjamin Ayimba’s team who ran in six unconverted tries for the victory that sparked an outpouring of national pride.

#Kenya7s shot to the top of trending chats on micro blogging site Twitter within minutes of the final whistle as South African pay TV channel, SuperSport, that was broadcasting the final live came under fire for the break in transmission that robbed the country’s views pictures of the historic moment when captain Andrew Amonde lifted the Singapore 7s Main Cup trophy.

“#Kenya7s you’ve done us proud. Join me in congratulating the Kenya Sevens Rugby Team on their remarkable win against Fiji in the Singapore Sevens Cup rugby finals,” President Uhuru tweeted in two posts.

“A brilliant, confident and powerful effort has earned Team Kenya a richly deserved victory,” the Head of State later added as spoof accounts announced he had declared Monday a public holiday to toast the epic triumph.

“Hongera #Kenya7s for making history by winning their first ever World Series Cup title at the 2016 #Singapore7s,” his deputy, William Ruto added.

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader, Raila Odinga who is touring abroad offered, “Outstanding performance by @kenya_7s! Flying the Kenyan flag high and proud.”

“Congratulations to #Kenya7s for making history; winning our first ever series title in #Singapore. We are truly proud of you. Kudos! Hongera again to our shujaas!!! #Kenya7s,”Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario posted.

Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga took a moment to reflect on the patriotic importance of the victory urging the country’s politicians to learn from the unity of purpose shown by the team that came to Singapore as the eighth ranked side in the HSBC World Series.

“Are our politicians watching this expression unity and PATRIOTISM?” he wrote.

Budalangi Senator, Ababu Namwamba, who is also a former Sports Minister in the Government of National Unity got into the groove posting, “Historic, Epochal, Stiring triumph by our Rugby7s lads at the Singapore7s. May this reignite our sense of nationhood.”

With politicians scrambling to get into the wave of excitement that swept the nation, some got it all wrong.

Kiambu Governor, William Kabogo first posted; “Congratulations Kenya Sevens on the World Cup win. We are proud of you!!!! #Singapore7s,” before the ignorant post was deleted from his account and replaced by “Proudly Kenyan #Singapore7s,” with a screen grab of the final 30-7 score.

“Congratulations Kenya Sevens for beating Fiji in Singapore to lift the historic Rugby Word Cup,” Kakamega Senator, Bonny Khalwale Tweeted.

His blunder was quickly seized upon with Ngolo Rachier replying “mhesh hiyo si world cup but IRB 7s series singapore leg,” while DruBent added, “Mheshimiwa you are out of order ni World cup kweli ama singapore series substantiate,” (is it really the World Cup or Singapore series, substantiate).

“Absolutely amazing so pleased for the #ShujaaPride ..Congratulations all,” former Kenya 7s head coach and USA 7s boss, Mike Friday posted in tipping his hat to his former charges whom he led to the finals of the 2013 Wellington 7s before losing the Main Cup in heartbreaking fashion to England in extra time.

World men Javelin champion, Julius Yego, paid tribute to Shujaa by posting, “The team deserves special recognition,” following the victory that shattered sporting barriers.

Brian Khaniri posted, “The world should know that Kenya is a hotbed of talent,” in mocking the American cable news giant, CNN that once labelled Kenya a ‘hotbed of terror’ ahead of last year’s visit of President Barack Obama.

On Facebook, Shujaa dominated the walls with this post by former rugby player and veteran sports journalist, Charles Nyende perhaps summing best the historic victory.

“Benjamin Ayimba was in that Kenya team that was thrashed 71-0 by Fiji at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. I know we have beaten these Fijian sevens magicians twice before today’s Singapore Sevens final. But this – beating Fiji 30-7 – must be very sweet for Ayimba, Kenyan rugby lovers, and indeed all Kenyans dulled to the bone by our depressingly unyielding national narrative of ICC, Jubilee, Cord, us versus them, collapsing banks, corruption, impunity, tribalism ad infinitum…,” he wrote on his wall.

“Told you guys. Ayimba should have been fired as soon as we qualified for the Olympics. Now he has made us win a 7s trophy? How dare he!!! We need a foreign coach!” long-serving radio personality, Eric Latiff posted in mockery of the notion foreign coaches can do a better job than the locals.

Citizen TV’s veteran sports-caster, Mike Okinyi, wrote via Twitter; “This should be our newspapers front page tomorrow @dailynation @StandardKenya @PeopleDailyKe @TheStarKenya.”

Collins Injera, named HSBC player of the final, scored twice in the final as his side blew the series leaders Fiji away with 20 unanswered first half points.

It was a fitting end to a sensational weekend of rugby sevens, with more than 45,000 people turning out at the National Stadium with Singapore returning to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after a 10-year absence.

Fiji’s place in the final after victory over South Africa in the semi final extended their lead at the top of the standings to eight points with two rounds remaining in Paris and London while the Blitzboks returned to second place having finished third after beating Argentina 28-0 in the third place play off which included a 50th career try for Kwagga Smith.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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