Shujaa off to flying start at Commonwealth Games

Cyprian Kimutai 11:21 - 29.07.2022

The Kenya men’s sevens team demolished neighbours Uganda 27-14 in their opening Pool D match at the Commonwealth Games on Friday, July 29.

Shujaa as the team is commonly referred to came off the dressing rooms flying. Immediately after referee Talal-Azmat Chaudry blew the whistle, the boys applied constant pressure on the Ugandans.

The constant pressure from the Kenyans must have come as a surprise for the Ugandans as 29 seconds into the game Ian Munyani succumbed to the intensity as he was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle.

At 1:08 Kenya finally got rewarded for their intensity as well as amazing ball play as Johnstone Olindi crossed the try line but missed the following conversion.

Brilliant play from Shujaa continued which led to another try at 2:46 when Olindi glided through the Ugandan defence before making a brilliant blind pass to Herman Humwa who comfortably went through the posts for Kenya’s second try. The conversation made the score 12-0.

With three minutes still to play before half-time, the Cranes had yet to cross into Kenya’s half and the situation became worse for them as Billy Odhiambo injected insane pace, going past the whole Ugandan squad before diving across the line. A last-minute tackle was only enough to remove Odhiambo’s shoe.

A minute later, Uganda finally managed to get into the game when Timothy Kisiga replicated Odhiambo’s try, also injecting pace past Kenya’s defence to ensure the Cranes go back at half-time with at least one try. Half-time score 17-7.

Their last-minute half try seemed to have rejuvenated the Cranes as they emerged from the break better of the two teams. Utilising both their attack and defence, Uganda added another try two minutes after the break courtesy of Philip Wokorach followed by a successful conversion. 

The score was now 17-14, however, a host of substitutions and a yellow card for Ugandan Adrian Kasito helped Shujaa secure their third try of the day as well as Olindi’s second. Daniel Taabu however missed out on the conversion.

The Kenyans completed their route against the Cranes in 7:50 when another brilliant play by Shujaa resulted in Kenya’s fourth and final try of the day. Daniel Taabu, unfortunately, missed out on the try but the hooter saw Shujaa go back to the dressing room with the score line reading 27-14.