The Paris Olympics 2024 qualification for Africa concluded in Harare, Zimbabwe with Kenya 7s beating South Africa 17-12 in the Africa men’s 7s to earn a direct ticket to next year’s showpiece.
The Africa 7s tournament couples up with the Paris Olympics 2024 qualification. The two African rugby powerhouses found themselves in this tournament after they both had a disappointing outing in the HSBC seven series. Kenya’s Shujaa were relegated in May after a last-gasp relegation play-off defeat to Canada in London. The Blitzboks missed out on a direct Paris Olympics 2024 after failing to have a top-four finish. They finished seventh, one of their worst finishes in the seven series.
Paris Olympics Africa 7s tournament overview
RANKING: Africa Mens 7s 2023
1. Kenya (Qualified Olympics 2024)
2. South Africa (Qualified Repechage)
3. Uganda (Qualified Repechage)
6. Burkina Faso
11. Algeria#NileSpecial7s #UgandaRugby pic.twitter.com/HHuFKLFTQI
— Polly Tibs (@PollyTibs) September 18, 2023
Impressive run by the Shujaa and Blitzboks
Shujaa and Blitzboks had perfect runs in their respective pools recording 100 percent win record in their respective pools in the Africa men 7s. Shujaa started off their Paris Olympics 2024 qualification campaign beating Nigeria 36-10, Namibia 50-0 and Zambia 38-12. In the quarters they beat Burkina Faso 26-0 to set up a semi final clash with host Zimbabwe.
Kenya beat host Zimbabwe 35-10 in front of their home fans booking a final place ticket. The Blitzboks started off their campaign perfectly whitewashing Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Madagascar in their pool A matches. Additionally they dispatched Nigeria 27-0 in the quarterfinals and Uganda 26-14 in the semifinal joining Kenya in the final.
The bronze final
Host Zimbabwe and Uganda went into this match not only to win the bronze title but also qualify for the final through the Olympics repechage tournament to qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024. The two teams who had earlier met at the pool stage and had an exhilarating match with host Zimbabwe running away with a 35-5 win over Uganda. Uganda went into this match seeking to exact revenge on the host.
Zimbabwe kicked off the match on a good note scoring an opening try taking the scores to 5-0. The hosts’ lead was short lived after Uganda’s Adrian Kasito leveled the scores after collecting the ball from a scrum. Ugandan international Philip Wokorach danced past his defenders dotting his side’s second try heading to half time.
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Uganda started off their second half from where they left off with Isaac Massa who scored to take the lead to 17-5. Zimbabwe were able to pull one back after Ryan Musumhi was able to go over, cutting the deficit to 17-12. Philip Wokorach had the final say of the game after delivering a dummy and fending off his defender scoring a converted try to complete the comeback and avenged 24-12. The win guaranteed Uganda a podium finish and a place in the Paris Olympic 2024 repechage tournament.
Kenya 7s beat the Blitzboks 17-12 in the final of Africa 7s which also coupled up as a qualification for the Paris Olympics 2024. The final promised to be a mouth watering clash with the Olympic qualification up for grabs and it definitely delivered to its expectation. Shujaa started their match well after youngster Patrick Odongo outpaced his marker Rosko Specman landing a converted try.
However, the Blitzboks were awakened by the try and Selvyn Davids dashed past Kenya’s defense to score an unconverted try. The Boks were at it again after Christie Grobbelaar had a long range run to score a converted try taking the scores to 7-12 lead heading to the halftime break. The second half was an all Kenyan affair. Shujaa’s skipper Vincent Onyala set up Odongo to score his brace. Shujaa’s ace John Okoth caught the Blitzboks unaware and scored a try to ensure that Kenya’s spot at the Paris Olympic 2024 is sealed. Kenya are the six time Africa men 7s champions.
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Kenya qualifies as the ninth team in the Paris Olympics 2024 joining hosts France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Uruguay, Ireland and USA. South Africa and Uganda who finished second and third respectively will now compete in the Olympic Repechage tournament if they hope to qualify for the Paris Olympic 2024 final spot.
Courtesy of HSBC world sevens series
Photo credit from Zinneke