Kenya Lionesses miss Olympic ticket after coming short against China

Kenya Lionesses miss Olympic ticket after coming short against China

Mark Kinyanjui 19:00 - 23.06.2024

A physically sharp China proved way too much for Kenya Lionesses, who missed on a glorious chance to qualify for a third-successive Olympic tournament.

China featured a number of exceptionally quick players to take full advantage of Kenya Lionesses in the final of the Olympic Repechage taking place in Monaco, beating them 24-7 in the final to book a ticket to Paris for the games in August.

Things did not get off to a good start for Kenya. China opened the scoring with a well-converted try following a small lapse in concentration down their right flank.

Kenya would swiftly respond through Janet Okello, who ran with the ball through the sticks to land the equalizing try which was well converted.

However, China, who have been on a roll for a big part of the season, sailed ahead again just before the break, leaving the Kenyans with a lot of work to do to cover the ground. 

The Kenyans just could not get going, and Sun Yu would make it a third successfully converted try for the Chinese, making it 17-7 just after the break.

Lionesses started panicking and making unnecessary mistakes, with The Chinese intent on forcing them into racking up unnecessary yellow cards. From a scrum inside their own 22-yard-box, China added another well converted try, making it 24-7.

The Kenyans tried to bounce back and Judith Akumu found herself with acres of space to reduce the deficit. She tried to attack that space, but was stopped just in time by a Chinese player

What next for the Lionesses?

Head coach Dennis Mwanja had previously told Pulse Sports  that missing out on the tournament could have been a blessing in disguise for the side, which showed they had alot of work to do.

Mwanja  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.”