A comeback win for Kenya was needed to secure their second title at the 2015 Men’s African Sevens Championship. The tournament contained 12 teams split into three groups where the top eight performers advanced to the quarterfinals. The winner will be given a spot to compete at the Olympics. The Men’s African Sevens Championship was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 14th to November 15th 2015.
With South Africa already previously qualified fellow World Series core member Kenya was the big favourite. Kenya showed why it was considered the favourite by winning Group A by a combined score of 123-5. Madagascar had a great start by defeating Senegal 33-7, but a 29-27 loss to Mauritius spelt trouble for them. However, Senegal would go on to defeat Mauritius 19-17 which caused Madagascar to advance to the quarterfinals. Sadly Senegal was the odd third place team out and did not advance to the quarterfinals.
Group B was similarly dominated by Zimbabwe as they won all three matches by a combined score of 122-12. Uganda was able to secure second place by defeating Nigeria in a closely contested match 19-12. Nigeria also advanced to the quarterfinals by dispatching Zambia 19-14.
Group C was considered to be debatable between Morocco, Namibia and Tunisia. In the end it was Namibia which topped the group with wins over Morocco and Tunisia by scores of 24-21 and 45-10 respectively. Tunisia secured second place by defeating Morocco 21-17. Morocco advanced as one of the best third place teams as they defeated Botswana, 38-5.
Kenya and Zimbabwe were able to win their quarterfinals with ease as they defeated Madagascar and Nigeria 41-0 and 31-10 respectively. Tunisia won by a try over Uganda 19-14 while Morocco got a bit of revenge from its group stage loss by defeating Namibia in a tight score of 17-15. Kenya and Zimbabwe continued their strong showing at this championship by winning their semifinals 42-12 and 26-0 against Tunisia and Morocco respectively. The final was a very close affair when Zimbabwe took the lead towards the end of the match. Kenya would respond with a last second try to win the tournament and a spot at the Olympics by a score of 21-17. Morocco took the bronze medal by a score of 19-12.
This was the first Kenyan team to qualify to the Olympics since the women’s volleyball team back in 2004. Zimbabwe, Morocco and Tunisia will all have a final chance to qualify to the Olympics at the final Olympic qualifier to be held in 2016.
- ARU. Johannesburg : day 1. Access on November 15 2015.
- WR. Kenya leave it late to seal Olympic spot. Access on November 15 2015.