• Feeney will be using the two-day event as a warm-up for the start of the 2019-2020 World Sevens Series openers in Dubai and Cape Town next month.
•Runner-up and third-placed team will head to repechage next year
Shujaa open their Africa Cup Sevens-cum-Olympics qualifier campaign today against minnows Ivory Coast today at the Barnard Stadium in Johannesburg.
Kenya will be seeking to represent the continent for the second time after debuting at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Paul Feeney's charges will be seeking to reclaim the crown they last won in 2015.
Feeney will be using the two-day event as a warm-up for the start of the 2019-2020 World Sevens Series openers in Dubai and Cape Town next month.
“We have had an excellent pre-season and we have worked on all aspects of the game as well as playing the Safari Sevens. It's now up to the boys to go and do the country proud by qualifying for the Olympic Games next year in Japan,” he added.
Skipper Andrew Amonde said he is optimistic about Kenya's chances in the competitive event.
“We are in high spirits. We have trained well and playing in the Safari Sevens was good preparation. It's now a matter of execution in our game plan for the event,” noted Amonde.
The veteran forward expects stiff competition in the two-day qualifier. “There is a lot at stake and every team will have to put their best foot forward. As a country, we must rise to the occasion and do the nation proud,” noted Amonde.
Africa Sevens champions Zimbabwe and Uganda will be Kenya's biggest threats in the event. The team arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening and had their Captain's run yesterday as well as a minimal training session.
Shujaa have fond memories of the venue having beaten Zimbabwe 21-17 in Africa Sevens final in 2015 to book their ticket to the Rio Olympics.
A total of 14 teams will be seeking to claim the coveted Africa 7's trophy and with it, securing their spot in the Olympics next year. The 14 teams will kick off Day One 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 today before wrapping up the stage tomorrow morning. Once the pool matches are done, the tournament will head to the semifinal stages.