• The day Shujaa were relegated from the World 7s Series after losing 12 -7 to Canada in the HSBC playoffs final.
•Kenya may also fail to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in France if they don’t beat the likes of South Africa in the African qualifiers.
Shujaa's relegation from the World Sevens Rugby Series on Sunday has elicited reactions from Kenyans of different walks.
Shujaa lost their core status after a 12-7 defeat to Canada in the playoff in London.
The relegation means Shujaa will not participate in the 2024 HSBC series and may fail to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in France if they don’t beat the likes of South Africa in the African qualifiers.
Following the news, Kenyans have taken to social media to express their disappointment about the relegation.
Some have expressed sadness, while others have criticised the team’s performance and called for changes in the management of the game.
“We went to the top without having a business aspect to it. We lost the plot when we failed to monetize our status and our players turned into paupers,” Gordon Opiyo wrote on Facebook, adding that the team's performance has deteriorated since winning the World Sevens Series in 2016, Singapore.
Opiyo also adds that he was disappointed when the only coach to take Shujaa to a World Series win Benjamin Ayimba was buried in a manner not befitting his status after he sadly passed away from cerebral malaria in 2021.
Opiyo concludes by stating it’s time to think about the game paying and paying well for the players and a rebuild is necessary.
“Now, that we are down, we have to think about not just playing, but making sure that playing pays and pays well. It is time to rebuild,” the post reads.
In the comment section, one replied ‘Good deeds should be appreciated and rewarded handsomely’ in response to the case of Ayimba. Another commented that the day got worse since it falls on the same day as Ayimba’s anniversary and states that the gaffer will remain in the hearts of Kenyans for the longest time.
Another one added: "Rugby has been on the deathbed for the last 10 years. We had a certain wave of about five years and thought we were actually there. We failed to put up structures and support systems for sustainability. We can't act surprised now when the patient is dead."
Others blamed the politics in the Kenya Rugby Union as the major cause of the degradation in the sport.
Another one said, unlike Kenya, other countries strategize, rebuild and come back stronger when things are on the decline. In Kenya, we relax and wait for a miraculous promotion back to the series.
The majority of Kenyans have called for a rebuild in the game beginning with the leadership, the structures, and the recruitment process if the country wants to get back to the series.