Kenya Sevens team Shujaa face Canada in the Emirates Dubai Invitational Sevens quarterfinals today after finishing third in Pool Blue in the group matches on Friday.
Kenya won one match, drew one and lost one against Chile, France and Spain respectively.
Spain shocked Kenya 15-14 in the final group match of the day after scoring a late unconverted try to finish second in the pool ahead of Kenya who accumulated six points.
Shujaa got off to a bright start at the 2021 Emirates Dubai Invitational Sevens tournament after coming from behind to beat Chile 39-7 in the match played at the Sevens Stadium.
Despite falling behind in the opening minutes of the game, tries by Nelson Oyoo, Willy Ambaka, Harold Anduvate, Jeff Oluoch, Johnstone Olindi and Jacob Ojee ensured Kenya kick started the Dubai campaign with a win in Pool Blue.
The South Americans took an early 7-0 lead in the opening two minutes before Kenya responded with an unconverted try after Oyoo outpaced the Chilean defense to score at the corner off Tony Omondi’s offload.
Willy Ambaka ensured Kenya went to the break with a comfortable 17-7 lead after crossing over the white wash twice.
Jeff Oluoch landed Kenya’s fourth try immediately after the restart before Johnstone Olindi made it five tries for innocent Simiyu’s men after pouncing on a loose ball.
Ojee and Anduvate came off the bench to seal Kenya’s first win at the Dubai tournament used as part of the Tokyo Olympics preparations.
In the second match, Ambaka scored a brace as Kenya staged a second-half comeback to force a 19-19 draw with France.
With both teams eyeing a second win after their respective wins in the opening matches (France defeated Spain 21-17), the match was poised to be a difficult grueling duel down to the wire and to the wire it went.
Shujaa took the lead against the run of play after Ambaka tore apart the French high pressing defense for a 7-0 lead.
However, a resilient France refused to bow to the early pressure by scoring two quick tries for a 14-7 lead at the breather.
After the restart, the French were at it again after an unconverted try saw them take a healthy 19-7 lead before Daniel Tabu who tricked his way past three defenders to cut the deficit to seven points initiated Kenya’s comeback.
Ambaka then returned to the scoresheet with his second try of the game that tied the scores at 19-19 after a successful conversion.
KCB’s Johnstone Olindi would rescue Kenya at the death after his bravery defending denied France a late winning try at the corner.
In the women’s category, Kenya Lionesses endured a difficult start at the Dubai event after losing all their three matches.
In the opening match, Kenya lost to Japan 19-14 before going down 38-5 to Canada in the second match.
In the third match, USA compounded Kenya’s worrying form with an emphatic 46-7 win.