Shujaa will be hoping that what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Having bowed out of the Vegas leg of the HSBC Sevens Series with only 5 points to show for their work, Shujaa faces an even more difficult task in the Vancouver 7s to be held from 9th to 10th March.
Pitted against Fiji, Samoa, and hosts Canada, the Kenya 7s Rugby team are more likely to draw closer to the relegation zone than move top in the HSBC series table.
Kenya has a good history with Fiji having thrashed them 30-7 in 2016 to win the Singapore 7s. Since then however, the Fiji team has grown ever since but unfortunately the same can’t be said about the Kenyan 7s team if recent performances are anything to go by.
Shujaa has performed poorly in all the played legs of this year’s HSBC series. It will therefore be an uphill task against Fiji who have experienced players while Kenya is fielding a makeshift team with experienced players continuing to boycott their duties due to pay cuts.
Other opponents for Shujaa in the group stage, Samoa, will be looking to capitalize in Vancouver after losing to the USA in the finals of the Vegas 7s. Having inched closer to the winning the main cup, Samoa will not leave anything for chance at Vancouver as they seek to lift it.
Canada, on the other hand, will be on home ground and will have tremendous support from their fans. After a terrible performance in Vegas, the hosts will be looking to bounce back in front of homes as pressure to perform piles on them.
It will not be an easy task at Vancouver for Shujaa even though they showed signs of improvement in Vegas, winning against Argentina 24-19 in the group stages.
Kenya went ahead to beat Japan at the quarterfinals of the Challenge trophy 28-15 but lost to Spain 24-7 in the semifinals.
Senior players continue their boycott, with even former 7s captain, Humphrey Kayange, coming out to speak on the issue saying the team is doomed to fail unless the issues with the players are sorted.
“It’s for the players who have a lot of values for the team and the KRU board to sit down and get a way forward; since with four points definitely you’re heading to relegation,” Kayange was quoted on Citizen Digital.
“It’s not a joke being relegated at the end of the season and the younger players will miss the chance to play in the HSBC Series; we know its contractual disagreement which should be resolved for a better tomorrow for Shujaa and the junior players,” he added.
The team still has a chance to avoid relegation and even improve their position in the standings. The new players are just but starting to get used to playing at the HSBC series but a return of the senior players will do Kenya more good.