Burkina Faso pull out as six international teams challenge Kenya in Safari Sevens

NAIROBI, Nov. 8 -- Defending champions Shujaa, Kenya's senior rugby team, have been seeded top and will launch their title campaign in Pool A for this year's Safari Sevens against giants Namibia.

However, organizers of the tournament confirmed that Burkina Faso, who were to debut in the tournament, have pulled out at the last minute.

Godwin Karuga, director of the Safari Sevens, said they have offered Mwamba Club the chance to play in the premier Africa tourney after they finished second in the National Sevens Circuit.

"We still maintain the 12-team tournament format owing to the low turnout," said Karuga on Thursday.

The Safari Sevens rugby tourney will kick off on Friday together with the girls' Under-19 tournament, which also has 12 teams.

Namibia, silver medalists of the Africa Men's Sevens, will be eyeing their first win in Kenya after their 15s side beat Kenya to earn a 2019 World Cup ticket in Japan.

Other members of the group are England side Apache and Kenyan side Mwamba.

Spain are the second seeds for the tournament and headline Pool B which also features 2015 champions Samurai, Red Wailers and Emerging Uganda while another title favorite Portugal have been grouped in Pool C with two-time African champions Uganda, Kenya Morans and Kenya's National Club Sevens champions Homeboyz.

Kenya Sevens coach Paul Murunga said preparations for the tournament are complete.

"My team is strong. Shujaa is targeting to top the group and be unbeaten. We shall beat Namibia if they play the way they did at the continental event," Murunga said here on Thursday.

Namibia finished ninth in the Africa Nations Cup, which attracted 12 teams while Kenya's Shujaa lost 17-5 to Zimbabwe in the final held last month in Monastir, Tunisia.

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