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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Burkina Faso to attend Safari Sevens tourney in Nairobi  

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Burkina Faso is the latest addition to the number of foreign teams that will come to Nairobi for the Safari Sevens tournament from Nov. 9-11.

The West African side will be using the two-day tournament as part of its preparations ahead of next year’s continental qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan and promotion to the Africa Men’s Sevens 2019 tournament.

Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Richard Omwela confirmed that 12 teams will be competing in the tournament, in which host Kenya will use as a curtain raiser ahead of the World Series circuit that starts in Dubai in December.

“We are happy with the interest showed by international teams. Seven international teams have so far confirmed their participation,” said Omwela on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Sevens World Series core team Spain and Kenya will be the teams to watch out of 12 that have confirmed participation.

Portugal, a former core side in World Series, as well as Uganda, Namibia, Samurai Rugby, South African side Cobras, Red Wailers and Apache Sevens are the other foreign sides expected in Nairobi next week.

Kenya’s second string side Morans and local sevens club champions Homeboyz have also been invited.

“Safari Sevens is making a return after a one year break due to the extended elections in the country, which we witnessed last year,” said Omwela.

Kenya Sevens senior team are the defending champions from the 2016 tournament. This year’s tournament takes on a 12 team format, similar to that used at the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens competitions.

The Kenya team was however dealt a blow after strength and conditioning coach Geoffrey Kimani said Wednesday he will not renew his contract, which expired on Oct. 31.

“With expiry of my contract with KRU and Kenya Sevens, I have rescinded the decision to sign up a new one due to personal reasons. Instead, I will proceed for sabbatical. It was an honour serving the country and sport,” he said.

Kenya named a new coach Paul Murunga to take over from Innocent Simiyu starting on Nov. 1. The Safari Sevens will be his first competition.

The Safari Sevens tournament is the second top tournament in the continent after South Africa Sevens, which is part of the World Series circuit.

Rugby Africa President Abdelaziz Bougja said the continent has made strides in growing the sport.

           

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