In a stunning blow to Kenyan rugby, the national sevens team, Shujaa, has been relegated from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after a 12-7 playoff final loss to Canada at Twickenham Stadium, London.
Shujaa took an early 7-0 lead through skipper Nelson Oyoo's impressive try, with Anthony Omondi converting. However, Canada fought back as Josiah Morra scored right before halftime, levelling the score at 7-7 with Brock Webster's successful conversion.
Despite Shujaa's valiant efforts, Canada's physical play and turnovers proved challenging. In a crucial moment, John Okoth's sin-binning left Kenya with one less player, allowing Alex Russell to score for Canada and secure a 12-7 lead.
In their final attempt, Kenya pushed into Canada's territory, but Jeff Oluoch's failure to release the ball sealed their fate as time ran out. Canada celebrated while Kenyan players were left devastated.
This marks the first time in 23 years that Kenya Sevens will not participate in the World Rugby Sevens Series as a core team. Funding from World Rugby for tours will cease, and the players will miss out on top-flight rugby.
Canada's victory secures their place as the 12th core team in the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Series. Meanwhile, Kenya, Uruguay, and Tonga will have to compete in their respective Regional Sevens Championships to qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.
While Shujaa licks their wounds, rugby fans around the world will be eagerly awaiting their resurgence, eagerly anticipating the day when Kenya Sevens reclaim its place among the elite teams in the sport.