Portugal eyes Olympic qualification in Safari Sevens in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Portugal, which is one of the six foreign teams in Nairobi for this year’s Safari Sevens rugby tournament, will take the competition as part of their preparation for the European Olympic qualifiers, according to head coach Antonio Aguilar.

Portugal is among the World Series teams. Together with Spain, they lead a strong challenge against defending champion Kenya in quest for the crown of the Safari Sevens, the premier rugby competition in Africa.

The European giant has been in Nairobi for the last five days to acclimatize and they have four players in their squad who have played in the World Series.

Portugal head coach Antonio Aguilar says it is their third time competing in Kenya and hopes the experience the players gain from the tournament will go a long way to boost their preparation for the European Olympic qualifiers next season.

“This is our third time here in Nairobi and we always take this competition serious. We missed it last year, but I’m really glad that we are back and ready to compete against some top international players especially Kenya, who are so good in the game,” Aguilar said here on Friday.

Portugal is in pool C together with Kenyan side Morans, Uganda and Homeboyz. Aguilar says Kenyan teams are strong and competitive and winning against them will be a major score to their preparations for the Olympics.

“Kenya and our neighbors Spain are here as well, and they will be hard teams to play against, so it’s going to be fun and exciting to all,” he added.

A total of 12 teams drawn into three pools are in competition for the title. Samurai will get Safari Sevens action underway when they play Red Wailers in the main tournament’s opener on Saturday.

The teams will be reseeded after the group matches finish at the end of day one with the top eight teams qualifying for the quarterfinals and the Robin Cahill trophy waiting for the tournament’s winners.

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