The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Development Conference got underway at the Strathmore University on Saturday 22 July 2023.
There were keynote addresses from the Kenya Rugby Union’s Honorary Secretary Raymond Olendo who took the participants through the origins of the KRU as well as KRU Chairman Sasha Mutai who touched on several issues including widening the existing talent pool in the country. KRU Development Officer Ronald Okoth also spoke at the conference.
“It is important that we tap into the private/international schools’ systems in order to compliment the talent coming through from the public schools’ system in a bid to further grow the Kenyan talent pool,” said Mutai.
He also stressed the need for more partnerships, saying, “We need to encourage more public – private partnerships to boost the growth and development of the game of rugby in Kenya.”
Mutai also stated his desire to see the formal introduction of rugby in primary schools, saying, “I am keen on seeing the KRU partner with the Ministry of Education as we seek to have the game of rugby formally introduced at primary school level.”
Also giving presentations at the conference were KRU Director of Development Dr. Ochieng Ahaya as well as Dr. Michael “Tank” Otieno, Thomas Odundo and Fred Ollows who shared a presentation on Education and Training.
“We look to bring together stakeholders to harness intellectual, scientific, cultural and institutional knowledge so as to consolidate learnings towards informing and catalyzing action for the purposes of running high quality sustainable rugby development in the country, “said Dr. Ahaya, who further urged the game’s stakeholders to focus on churning out a quality rugby product through a rethink of how the game is managed locally.
Dr. Otieno’s presentation focused on the formulation and implementation of a development curriculum.
“There is no structured development taking place to enable the nurturing and development of talent through an elite pathway into the national teams via a tracking system,” said Dr. Otieno.
He also talked about the importance of developing fundamental skills in children while stressing on the need to develop and maintain links with local schools and colleges as part of the KRU’s development plans.
Dr. Otieno also called for more resources to be availed to the women’s game, saying, “We must avail more resources to enable our women play the game of rugby at the highest levels.”
“It is equally important to have a code of ethics to guide on matters such as sexual harassment and exploitation,” added Dr. Otieno.
Thomas Odundo, the KRU Director of Rugby noted that the conference was a good start for Kenyan rugby as it creates the need for further engagement among stakeholders.
Itai Chataurwa, the Zimbabwe U20 Committee Chairman address the conference as a guest speaker and shared some of the ingredients that have seen the Zimbabwean U20s make great strides on the continent.
“To succeed in age grade rugby, you need a lot of goodwill from parents. Our program is supported by parents and the private sector,” said Chataurwa.
The conference continues on Sunday 23 July 2023 at the same venue.