Kenya vowed on Tuesday to return to the World Rugby Sevens series, only days after being relegated from the top tier for the first time in two decades.
Kenya, who made their world series debut in 1999-2000 and became a core member on the circuit four years later, suffered a blow when the national team Shujaa lost to Canada 12-7 in the decisive match of the relegation play-off in London on Sunday.
Relegation from the world series means Kenya will no longer benefit from funding from the global body World Rugby and the chances of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics will be tough without it.
But the new Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) board led by Alexander Mutai said on Tuesday it is committed to restoring Shujaa’s status in the world series in 2024 and ensured they qualify for the Paris Games.
“In the coming days we will conduct a comprehensive review of the 2022-2023 World Series season, and based on the findings and recommendations of this review, the board will make informed decisions and guide the next steps to realign the team and set it on a path to success,” Mutai said in a statement.
“Over the next six weeks we will work tirelessly to enhance Shujaa’s competitiveness, implementing the recommended remedial measures from the review. This will mark the initial step towards reclaiming our position in the World Sevens Series.”
The board said the team’s immediate focus is competing in the Africa Men’s Sevens tournament in Zimbabwe in September which doubles up as the qualifier for the Olympics.
The winners will get an automatic ticket to the Paris Olympics, while the second and third placed teams will have to go through a final qualification tournament in June 2024.
Kenya won the Africa tournament in 2015 and 2019 to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and Tokyo held in 2021.
© Agence France-Presse