Sixteen top rugby teams, close to 30, 000 fans from all over the world, and gallons upon gallons of beer (or whatever your preference), were all conglomerated at Nyayo National Stadium for this year’s Safaricom Safari Sevens.
A sea of black, red, green and white greeted the Kenya team and national Sevens champions Mwamba every time both sides made it to the field as thousands swarmed to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
Every time the teams jogged into the field, they were soaking in the adulation.
In return, players waved to the crowd and applauded their fans, and a massive cheer went up when a tackle was made or Collins Injera touched down for the Kenya team.
“It’s awesome to cheer the Kenyan teams. I’ve never been at a rugby match before. This is a great outing you know,” said an elated rugby fan, Euphrine Ubaga.
As if the Nairobi City Council had contacted all of the local business to recommend that they let staff off at 11am on Saturday, fans were seen streaming into Nyayo in their hundreds.
After undergoing a thorough security check in not less than three different points, a vantage position was what was left for the rugby aficionados.
To be honest, it had to be one of the most unproductive days in Kenyan history!
As the Kenyan team lined up, eyes rolling, hands meeting thighs like claps of thunder, and heavy feet beating the turf as one, their opponents looked on, bemused, and hoping that there was a glint of steel in their cold unblinking eyes.
But it was the Haka, the Maori war dance that melts even nerves of steel, which was done by Auckland and Samoa that got the screaming fans onto their feet.
The day was picture perfect for sevens Rugby. Both players and fans enjoyed days out in the sun and the rain as well as the tournament was phenomenal! Skimpily dressed beauties gyrated their bodies to the amusement of the fans, most of whom, forgot which teams were on the field at the time.
They were all here for the annual rugby tournament, with the hope of defending the title. Jeff Githinji, a 30-year-old Nairobi lawyer who describes himself as “a long-suffering Kenyan fan”, was hopeful.
“We’re growing into a rugby-obsessed nation. It’s really reaching a peak, a real crescendo now, the excitement, before the games,” he said.
Players and fans alike expressed their enthusiasm over the new home of the Safaricom Rugby Sevens, which broke the tournament’s attendance records with its capacity crowds of about 30,000 on both Saturday and Sunday.