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Shujaa warm up for Dubai with Safari Sevens victory

Kenya Shujaa lift the Safari Sevens title at Nyayo National Stadium

Kenya’s Main Team, Shujaa put up a spirited performance to beat Germany 12-5 and clinch the Safari Sevens title, which was returning after a year following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fan favourite Alvin ‘Buffa’ Otieno and Johnstone Olindi went over the whitewash once each as the Shujaa revenged for the 14-12 loss they suffered when the two sides met in the pools on the first day of the competition on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Shujaa’s second team, Kenya Morans, winners of the last edition in 2019, finished third after beating red Wailers 10-5 in a tough final.

Head coach Innocent Simiyu was elated with the performance of the team and lauded them for the effort, despite stating they were yet to hit the standards he required.

Kenya Shujaa players celebrate after winning the 2021 Safari Sevens title

“We went into this tournament with five of our key players out injured after the last two tournaments. We had to field mostly new players who were yet to have this kind of experience or exposure before and we had some good positives. To be able to expose 24 players in the two teams to such a high level tournament is a huge step for us,” coach Innocent Simiyu told Sportsleo after the victory over Germany.

Former Shujaa coach Paul Murunga was in charge of the Morans team and was equally elated despite finishing third.

“For these players, getting to play at this kind of stage is positive for them. We have always wanted to expose our players to international events early enough and the Safari Sevens was an ideal place for them to try and compete with tough teams,” said the tactician.

Kenya Shujaa picking their trophies after winning the Safari Sevens

Shujaa had booked a slot in the final after beating compatriots Morans 19-17 in a tough fixture. The two sides had started off day two with victories in the Cup quarters, Shujaa beating Uganda 19-12 while the Morans stunned tournament favourites Samurai, beating them 17-14.

In the final, the Kenyan seniors were off to a flier and Otieno dotted down the first try of the game with a powered run through the middle, slicing the German defense.

Olindi had done the hard work, driving the ball drifting to the right before a little cheeky offload to Otieno took away two markers, handing the Kenyan strongman space to run down the middle. Levy Amunga sliced the posts for a 7-0 lead.

Kenya Shujaa’s Johnstone Olindi scored the winning try

But Germany did well to bounce back to contention and they reduced the defict just before halftime through Jack Hunt who dotted down on the left after some patient build up. The conversion was wide as Shujaa held a slender 7-5 advantage at halftime.

In the second half Shujaa sought to conclude business early and they did so with Olindi stretching his hand over the chalk off a maul after Kenya piled pressure inside Germany’s 22.

The visitors however pulled in the Kenyans and tried to get their way back. They almost did at the death when they camped inside Shujaa’s half. However, off a maul, the Kenyan side overturned possession and Olindi kicked out at the buzzer.

Action between Kenya Shujaa and Germany in the final of the Safari Sevens

Earlier, the Kenya Lionesses finished top of the women’s round robin tournament after beating Uganda 26-0 in the last round of matches. Grace Gakuya, Christabel Lindo and Janet ‘Shebesh’ Okello dotted down for the Kenyan girls.

Okello was named the Most Valuable Player and top try scorer in the women’s tournament while Otieno was named Most valuable Player of the men’s tournament.

Alvin Otieno dances to victory after being named the tournament Most Valuable Player

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