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Stage set for Dala sevens tournament in Kisumu

All roads lead to Kisumu City this weekend for the opening leg of the 2023 National Sevens Circuit Dala Sevens.

Over 700 players from top rugby clubs are expected to participate in the tournament hosted by Kisumu Rugby Football Club at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo and Kisumu National Polytechnic grounds.

ICT and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo is expected Saturday to officially open the tournament which has attracted 40 teams.

Division one which is the highlight of the tournament has 16 teams while division two has 24 teams.

In the Division one draws released by Kenya Rugby Union on Tuesday, National Sevens Circuit Champions Menengai Oilers are in Pool A alongside rivals Nakuru, Nondescripts and Catholic Monks.

Last season’s runners-up KCB are favourites in Pool B alongside Harlequins, Masinde Muliro University and Mombasa RFC.

Hosts Kisumu RFC are in Pool C which also features Strathmore Leos, Kabras Sugar and Daystar Falcons.

The teams will battle out for glory in the tournament which is renowned for its thrilling rugby action since 2003.

Dala Sevens Tournament Director Erick Ondieki said preparations have been finalised urging rugby fans to turn up in large numbers to experience top notch rugby.

VIP tickets, he said, were going at Sh. 1, 000 and regular tickets at Sh. 500 adding that various sponsors have come on board to make the tournament a success.

Among them is East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) which has announced a Sh 2 million sponsorship, Nightingale Hospital, Multichoice, Pinecone Hotel, Kisumu Specialists Hospital and W-Fresh water.

Stringent measures, he added, have been put in place to guarantee safety of players and spectators ahead of the tournament which kicks off on Friday.

Ondieki who doubles up as the treasurer of hosts Kisumu RFC said the team has been bolstered and was well prepared to take on competitors.

“The boys have prepared well. We have been promoted back to the Kenya cup which is a familiar ground for us having played against our competitors in the pool Kabras Sugar, Daystar Falcons and Strathmore,” he said.

Scouts from the Kenya National Rugby Sevens Team-Shujaa, he disclosed will be at the tournament to scout for talent.

“We hope to get one of two players from Kisumu RFC to join the national team,” he said.

Kisumu RFC senior player Charles Odhiambo said the recent friendly matches against Kabras Sugar and MMUSt have sharpened the boys focus and are going all out to bring the title home.

“We have a good combination of coaches who have done a good job. The boys are prepared and ready,” he said.

The team added targets to win the first three matches day one to book a spot in the quarter finals.

Dala Sevens has become the highlight of the National Sevens Circuit which was established in 1999.

By Chris Mahandara

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