Sheila Chajira is back in the Lionesses squad to the World World Rugby HSBC Challenger 2024 set for 12-14 January in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Chajira was part of the Lionesses squad that reached the final of the Safari 7s, in what was her first appearance for the sevens national team since the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.

Grace Okulu captains that side that seeks to secure qualification to the 2025 HSBC SVNS at the close of this campaign.

Lionesses Sevens Head Coach Dennis Mwanja spoke to Kenya Rugby about the upcoming assignment.

Mwanja, a former Shujaa skipper touched on the team’s preparations, expectations and selection criteria.

Here are excerpts of his interview

Preparation for Dubai Event

“Our transition from fifteens to sevens has been a rewarding journey, and the team has made significant strides in improvement. As we gear up for Dubai, the combination of youthful energy and seasoned experience within our squad is promising, creating an atmosphere of enthusiasm and anticipation for the upcoming challenge next weekend.”

Lionesses’ Tournament Approach

“Taking a measured approach, we are approaching the tournament one game at a time. A thorough analysis of our opponents reveals their worth, but our team is grounded in self-belief and quietly confident in our capabilities. Our focus on staying fresh, being fully prepared, and maintaining a hunger for victory will be the key factors that carry us through the competition.”

Squad Selection Criteria

“In assembling our squad, we considered a blend of experience, current form, and maturity on the field. Striking a delicate balance between youthful vigor, seasoned expertise, and leadership qualities was paramount. It is upon this combination that we place our trust to deliver the desired results in the upcoming event.”

The Lionesses, participating in Pool B of the women’s competition, will kick off their campaign with a match against China at 11:36 EAT on Friday, January 12, 2024.

Subsequently, they will go head-to-head with Czechia at 15:58 EAT on the same day. The Lionesses will wrap up their pool fixtures against Mexico at 10:59 EAT on Saturday, January 13.

Lionesses squad to Dubai

Grace Okulu (Captain), Stella Wafula, Maureen Muritu, Phoebe Akinyi, Naomi Amuguni, Christabel Lindo, Sheila Chajira, Judy Okumu, Sinaida Nyachio, Sharon Auma, Diana Awino,Janet Okello, Diana Kemunto MANAGEMENT: Dennis Mwanja (Head Coach), Paul Murunga (Assistant Coach), Jeff Onyango (Assistant Coach), Levis Kituyi (Physio), Camyline Oyuayo (Team Manager)

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