• Feeney cited Africa Sevens champions Zimbabwe as their biggest threat in the tournament.
• The former Auckland Blues and Stormers coach said the nature of Sevens is very unpredictable and teams must stay focused from the start to the end
Kenya Sevens' head coach cum technical director Paul Feeney has urged his charges to treat every match in the Olympics Sevens qualifiers as a final.
Shujaa open their campaign against Ivory Coast on Friday in Johannesburg and the Kiwi tactician has warned his charges against underestimating any team in the two-day event.
“There is a lot at stake because this is about Olympic qualification. We can't underestimate any team in the competition at the moment because it can prove to be counter-productive,” noted Feeney.
Feeney cited Africa Sevens champions Zimbabwe as their biggest threat in the tournament. "We saw them playing in the Safari Sevens and we know what they can do. They are good team,” he said.
The former Auckland Blues and Stormers coach said the nature of Sevens is very unpredictable and teams must stay focused from the start to the end. "You have to be switched on physically and mentally and play hard and smart,” he noted.
Feeney is satisfied with the 7-week preparations for the Olympic qualifiers. “We have had seven weeks of preparations for the qualifiers and some players started training way back in August as well as playing in the Safari Sevens. I am with our combinations, structure, Individual skills and organisation. I am also happy with the progress the team has made so far and the way senior and young players have supported each other,” he noted.
The team departs today and will have their Captain's run on Thursday. They are expected back on Thursday. A total of 14 teams will be seeking to claim the coveted Africa 7s trophy besides securing their spot in the Olympics next year.
The second and third-placed teams from the tournament have a second chance of heading to Tokyo as they will participate in the Olympic Repechage scheduled to take place in June 2020.
Twelve teams will take part in the repechage with the top two teams qualifying. The 14 teams will kick off Day 1 with qualifying matches for the second round.
At the conclusion of these seven matches, the seven winners plus the best loser will advance to the Championship phase of the tournament while the bottom six will face off in the trophy phase. The teams will then play two of their three pool matches on Friday before wrapping up this stage on Saturday morning. Semis will be next for the qualifiers before the final.