Ex-Kenyan star speaks on Harare 7s feast

HARARE - Godfrey “Chief” Edebe was elated to find out that the Confederation of African Rugby (Car) Sevens Cup will be played in Harare, pleased that he will be able to meet his fellow Kenyan countrymen at Prince Edward this weekend.

Kenya first played international rugby as a full national team in 1980 and “Chief” was part of the side. 

Edebe, now 57, amassed several test caps when the East African side was still quite a decently assembled outfit in the second to third-tiers of international rugby and occasionally were involved in bruising battles with continental giants Zimbabwe.

Resident in Harare for more than a decade now (where I first met him, as a budding sports reporter then, and learnt finer intricacies of the game from him), Edebe still follows his country’s progress from a distant, with keen interest, but is not too sure at the moment if the Kenyans can be labelled pre-tournament favourites in Harare ahead of Zimbabwe and a South Africa Sevens Academy side.

The Kenyans, an IRB Sevens core team, have picked a second-string side for the Harare trip. 

“Yes, they should traditionally be (favourites), but changes are always happening from Mombasa,” Edebe tells the Daily News.

“Kenya had some contract issues with their IRB circuit squad and some of their more senior players fell out with management because of higher contractual demands. The team that went to the Gold Coast (for a World Series leg) was basically new people in the squad. So based on that, I don’t know if they’ve resolved it or their ‘B’ side has become the first team.

“Another issue for the other teams is the Olympics qualification route. From the World Series, top four get automatic qualification but the rest have to join continental qualifications and that makes tournaments such as this crucial.”

In his playing days, the ever-affable Edebe was a versatile fifteens player, being picked at scum-half on debut in 1980, then going on to play in the wings as well as in the back row.

Later on, he managed Kenyan teams on tours here before deciding, over 10 years ago, to come and live in the Zimbabwean capital, where he met and married his recently deceased wife.

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