Tony Omondi picks two Safari Sevens matches key to Shujaa's Challenger Series preparations

Photo credit: World Rugby

RUGBY Tony Omondi picks two Safari Sevens matches key to Shujaa's Challenger Series preparations

Mark Kinyanjui 11:04 - 24.11.2023

Omondi, who was named the Safari Sevens MVP, believes that their showings against strong opposition in the latter stages of the tournament will put them in a good place ahead of their World Series promotion campaign.

Shujaa co-captain Tony Omondi believes that their showing in the recently-concluded Safari Sevens tournament will put them in a good place when the Challenger Series commences in January.

Omondi was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), as he orchestrated play as the heartbeat of the side and led his team to victory. 

Speaking to Pulse Sports following their achievement, the Mwamba fly-half believed that facing Germany and Uganda, two teams that are also battling for promotion back to the World Series, was a good test for their credentials at going back up.

“It was a good tournament. I cannot really say it was a bad one,” the naturally calm and collected Omondi said.

“We had worthy opponents in terms of Uganda, Germany, and Samurai. I believe the last two opponents we faced (Uganda and Germany) will be similar opponents strength-wise to what we will be facing in the Challenger Series, so it was a good tournament.”

Quizzed whether the conditions gave Shujaa an advantage to the win, Omondi stressed that they were not a hindrance.

“I do not think it was a hindrance at all because we trained for the last three weeks under such kind of conditions, so we expected the Safari Sevens to be even worse.

“We prepared knowing the weather was going to be like this, so I cannot say it was a hindrance at all.”

Being named Most Valuable Player of any tournament would be a moment of pride to any player, but Omondi insists that the most important thing for him is to lead by example as captain through his performances.

“First of all, it is a team game, so credit goes to the team. I have to say, leading from the front goes without saying when you are captain.

“There are no two ways about it. It is just my way of leading and being an example to the younger players.”

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Shujaa is a side on the rise since their relegation from the World Seven Series back in May that ended their 19-year core status.

They coasted to Olympic qualification back in September quite comfortably, before repeating their heroics at the Safari Sevens. They will be taking part in a Dubai invitational tournament in December, before they begin their Challenger Series campaign in the same venue from January 12-14, 2024.