No sight of ‘safari treat’ as Union calls off Safari Sevens


Leonard Mugaisi with (ball) of Kenya Shujaa avoids a tackle from Western Province players during ...
(FILE)Leonard Mugaisi with (ball) of Kenya Shujaa avoids a tackle from Western Province players during their Safari Sevens semi-finals match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya won 17-05 to qualify for the finals. Photo/Sportpicha

The clash of dates between the inaugural US based Silicon Sevens and the Safari Sevens could have contributed to the cancellation of the latter.

The Safari Sevens was set for November 4-5 at the RFUEA grounds in Nairobi, but on Friday, the Kenya Rugby Union said that the event has been cancelled owing to the “prevailing political climate”.

However, Citizen Digital has learnt that the cancellation could have been informed by the fact that the Silicon Sevens tournament will be held on same dates, leaving KRU with little option.

Some of the teams which were expected to grace Safari Sevens including the United States, Canada, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Ireland, England and other elite teams are poised to descend on California,USA, to participate in the Silicons Sevens.

Nelson Oyoo (C) of Kenya Shujaa celebrate with teammates Cyprian Kuto (L) and Leonard Mugaisi after scoring against Western Province during their Safari Sevens semi-finals match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya won 17-05 to qualify for the finals. Photo/Sportpicha
Nelson Oyoo (C) of Kenya Shujaa celebrate with teammates Cyprian Kuto (L) and Leonard Mugaisi after scoring against Western Province during their Safari Sevens semi-finals match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya won 17-05 to qualify for the finals. Photo/Sportpicha.

Former Kenya Sevens head Coach Mike Friday will be leading the USA rugby team fondly known as “The Eagles” on their home turf, as they bid to claim the honours in the inaugural event.

USA had confirmed participation in the Kenyan event as early as March, but pulled out at the last minute, opting to feature in their event.

The three day Safari Sevens  had been moved to November 3 and was poised to feature at the RFUEA grounds, the spiritual home of rugby, but according to the union,  the prevailing political climate has made it untenable.

The tense political climate has been occasioned by the repeat presidential elections set to take place on October 26.

In a statement on Friday, the Kenya Rugby Union said, “Due to the political mounting challenges and uncertainty in the country, the KRU through consultations with its both external and internal stakeholders decided to postpone the event”.

In its decision to move the tournament to RFUEA, the union had hoped to deal with fan apathy which has blighted the competition in recent years.

Kenya Shujaa team fans cheer their team against Western Province during their Safari Sevens semi-finals match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya won 17-05 to qualify for the finals. Photo/Sportpicha
Kenya Shujaa team fans cheer their team against Western Province during their Safari Sevens semi-finals match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya won 17-05 to qualify for the finals. Photo/Sportpicha.

The tournament has traditionally been played at the Ngong road based RFUEA .However, in 2010, it was moved to the Kasarani Stadium but it seems the conveners have since had a rethink.

The tournament was once hailed as Africa’s Premier Rugby Sevens tournament but it has since fallen short of expectations.

Report by Edwin Mbare

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