Nairobi-based Karen Crusaders were crowned the 2023 Malindi Beach Rugby Festival winners after beating Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) 2-1 in a tightly contested final at Buntwani Waterfront Park, Malindi.
A sudden death try by the Crusaders was the difference that made them champions. Crusaders who were the tournament’s favourites started the match on a high, putting pressure on TUM’s defence. Their efforts were rewarded as captain Anthony Omondi crossed over the line to open the scores, Crusaders taking an early 1-0 lead.
TUM however replied almost immediately to even the score sending the match to a sudden death, Crusaders would later land the winner to be declared the 2023 champions.
Speaking after the match, Karen Crusaders captain Anthony Omondi termed hard work as what led to their win.
“There was no secret, it was hard work, the boys worked for it that’s why we did,” he said.
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The Malindi Beach Rugby Festival was the recent accolade won by the team, as they are the South Coast fives touch rugby defending champions, which they won back in July.
The Kenya Rugby Union coast region development officer Leon Lubang’a, who doubled as the Tournament Director said the 2023 Malindi Beach Rugby Festival was a success, and added that he is yearning for a better tournament next year.
“The tournament was a success. We thank God, teams travelled from different parts just to come and compete here in Malindi, we are looking forward to better the tournament next year,” he said.
Hosts Malindi Experience finished 3rd after edging Barani Secondary 2-1 in the third-place playoff.
In the age grade category, Barani were crowned champions.