Mo­rans fired up

Kenyans tipped against Nige­ria in Africa Sevens opener to­day at Kasarani

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BY WIL­LIAM NJUGUNA @mbote­s­ports

Defending cham­pi­ons Kenya Mo­rans will open their Africa Sevens ac­count against min­nows Nige­ria in Pool “A” at 12.06pm at the Kasarani Sta­dium to­day.

Mo­rans face Sene­gal in their fi­nal pool game against Sene­gal at 7:14pm un­der flood­lights.

Kenya, who are the over­whelm­ing favourites to re­tain the ti­tle, have had barely two train­ing ses­sions and it’s some­thing not lost on coach Paul Mu­runga, who is han­dling the side.

“The prepa­ra­tions have not gone ac­cord­ing to plan but we must show courage and de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­tain the tro­phy,” added Mu­runga.

Mu­runga said Nige­ria were an un- known quan­tity and Sene­gal are phys­i­cal side, who will test them in the se­cond match.

“Nige­ria are up­com­ing side while Sene­gal have been play­ing in the lower tier tour­na­ments and they will be very com­pet­i­tive,” he added.

Mu­runga ex­pects his side to be at their best on Satur­day dur­ing the knock­out phase but cited Zim­babwe as their big­gest ri­val along­side Namibia, Mada­gas­car and Uganda.

“The game of Sevens has re­ally grown on the con­ti­nent and we can’t un­der­es­ti­mate any team. Teams have pre­pared well and we will be ready for the on­slaught,” the coach said.

Aluda Beda (Kabras), Lameck Dunde (Im­pala), Kevin Kee­gan (Quins) and Strath­more duo of Alex Olaba and Gin­ton Adongo, are some of the play­ers Mu­runga will rely on to de­liver the tro­phy on home soil.

Mo­rans skip­per Michael Wan­jala, who is an ex­pe­ri­enced Sevens’ player, said the side is rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge of play­ing in the tour­na­ment.

He said the play­ers are keen to fea­ture for the Shu­jaa in the up­com­ing World Sevens Se­ries, start­ing in De­cem­ber.

Last year’s run­ners up Zim­babwe open their cam­paign with tricky tie against Uganda and will wind up against Mau­ri­tius.

Kenya beat Zim­babwe 21-17 in last year’s fi­nal in Jo­han­nes­burg to qual­ify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Or­der of play: 11am: Tu­nisia vs Namibia; 11:22: Morocco vs Mada­gas­car; 11:44: Zim­babwe vs Mada­gas­car; 12:06pm: Kenya vs Nige­ria; 2:30: Botswana vs Namibia; 2:52 Zam­bia vs Mada­gas­car; 3:14: Mau­ri­tius vs Uganda; 3:36: Sene­gal vs Nige­ria; 6:10: Tu­nisia vs Botswana; 6:32: Morocco vs Zam­bia; 6:54: Zim­babwe vs Mau­ri­tius; 7:16: Kenya vs Sene­gal.

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