Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja reveals how charges are preparing for crunch Olympic qualifiers

Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja reveals how charges are preparing for crunch Olympic qualifiers

Mark Kinyanjui 12:36 - 08.06.2024

Mwanja has revealed how the Kenya Lionesses are preparing for the Monaco Repechage tournament later this month which will serve as a qualifier for the Paris Olympic games.

Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja remains confident in his team’s ability to overcome past disappointments and secure a spot in the upcoming Olympic Games this summer.

Despite failing to qualify for the top flight of women’s sevens rugby, Mwanja believes his squad is well-prepared for the World Rugby Sevens Repechage Tournament, set to take place in Monaco from June 21-23, 2024. This event, hosted at Stade Louis II, will be the final qualification tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Mwanja attributes much of their preparation success to the support from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), which arranged for the team to train in Miramas, France.

“We have what it takes. We are glad the Olympic committee organized for us to train in Miramas, France where we trained well for one week after Poland,” he told Pulse Sports.

“We have resumed training and are camping in Kasarani. That will help us because having the girls together and maximizing the time with them will enhance our skill level and teamwork,” Mwanja stated.

The Lionesses aim to secure their second consecutive Olympic appearance, having been the sole African representative in 2016 and 2022. 

In the Repechage Tournament, the team is placed in Pool A, where they will compete against Argentina, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa. Pool B includes Hong Kong China, Jamaica, Paraguay, and Uganda, while Pool C features China, Mexico, Poland, and Czechia, who are making their Repechage debut.

The men's competition will see strong contenders, including South Africa’s Blitzboks, who recently won the first round of HSBC SVNS 2024 in Dubai, alongside core teams from the HSBC SVNS 2024 circuit such as Canada, Great Britain, and Spain.

Mwanja also touched on the unexpected benefits of not qualifying for the HSBC Women’s World Series, viewing it as a potential silver lining. He emphasized the importance of building a stronger foundation and increasing the depth of talent in the women’s sevens.

“Maybe it is a silver lining we did not qualify for the next level because our base is not good enough. We do not have a lot of depth in the women’s sevens. 

“This year, we are working on getting more depth so that next time we can get to the next level of the HSBC sevens," Mwanja explained. 

“We are grateful for our journey and growth, but we are looking forward to having more depth so that we can have a broader journey and base of players to be able to play and raise the standards of women’s rugby in order to get to the next level.”

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