Namibian sevens off to South Africa to play in Tokyo 2020 qualifier
The second Olympic qualifier for Men’s Sevens rugby for African teams is taking place in South Africa next weekend, hosted by the South Africa Rugby Union under the banner of Rugby Africa in partnership with the sponsor, Société Générale.
Fourteen African teams compete at the Africa Men’s Sevens tournament 2019 on 08 and 09 November for the gold medal to qualify directly for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The silver medallist will have another opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games by competing in a global repechage tournament that will take place in June 2020.
The participating teams are in order of the current ranking: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
In addition to providing a route to Tokyo 2020, the Africa Men’s Sevens best two teams will be in the mix for the World Rugby Sevens Series qualifier tournament.
The Ivory Coast and Nigeria will make their debut at the Men’s Sevens tournament. Zimbabwe is the defending champion with Kenya at its heels as one of the favourite teams in the tournament. South Africa and Kenya are currently competing at the World Series, but only South Africa is already directly qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou said: “I wish to thank SA Rugby for hosting this important event. The Africa Rugby Men’s Sevens qualifier tournament for the Olympic Games is a highlight at the end of the season. With so much at stake, I am expecting truly competitive matches and fantastic two days for the players and spectators. It’s another milestone and an opportunity to showcase the development of Rugby on the African continent. Rugby Africa is reaching a high standard of organisation and the teams that seriously worked on their fitness will compete well.”
Jurie Roux, the Chief Executive of SA Rugby stated: “We are honoured to organize the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens qualifier event for the Tokyo Olympic Games. South Africa is already qualified through the World Series ranking, and we are pleased that Africa will have at least two representatives in the Olympic tournament. Since rugby is very popular in South Africa, we will provide a great stage for a vibrant tournament.”
Sifiso Made, the Chief Executive of Zimbabwe Rugby, the defending champions, conveyed the team’s ambitions: “After our achievements last year we have to work harder than ever to defend that title. Sevens can swing either side, because of its fast pace. Our boys will have to be on high alert every second. Rugby and especially the Sevens version are growing quickly in Zimbabwe. African rugby teams have adopted Sevens and a lot of athleticism and flare will be displayed. We are going out there as Zimbabwe to show why we are called the Zambezi Cheetahs.”