The next few months are monumental for the Kenya Rugby Union as three of its national sides are engaged in continental and global action.
The women’s sevens team, the Lionesses, are on the cusp of continental glory as they have a strong chance of winning the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens taking place next weekend in Gaberone, Botswana. They have already given us a glimpse of what they can do with inspiring performances at the World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. We would like to contract the coaching and playing units while offering competitive remuneration and bonuses and additionally, encourage further growth of the women’s game by funding development initiatives such as leagues and training programs.
Our men’s sevens team, Shujaa, have put on strong and consistent performances this season, most notably cup final appearances in Vancouver and Hong Kong, and are within touching distance of their set targets on the Sevens World Series. They are currently preparing for the final rounds of the series before heading into July’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco with a real prospect of emerging overall winners. They need adequate preparations in the form of warm tournaments preferably on the European stage to stay sharp heading into the global championship.
Simba, our men’s fifteens national team have over the past half a decade grown into an African powerhouse and after narrowly missing out on Rugby World Cup qualification in 2014, head into this year’s qualifiers as contenders for a spot at next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. Their preparations under the newly appointed technical bench led by New Zealanders Ian Snook and Murray Roulston has begun in earnest and is set to continue with a residential camp in Nanyuki and a couple of build up fixtures starting with the Elgon Cup against Uganda next weekend in Kampala.
This cost will rise drastically during the quest to secure Rugby World Cup qualification when we factor the costs directed towards high performance camps and build up matches in South Africa early next month, preparations for the Gold Cup as well as clearing pending allowances and dues owed to coaches.
Keeping the national squads together and ready for competition is a task that we could not possibly achieve on our own and we must appreciate the efforts of our partners namely Isuzu, Dasani, Bidco, Samurai Sportswear and Next Gen Sports. We presented a budget of Ksh 124m to the Government for the period between January and March, and have so far received Ksh 31 million. We call upon the Government to release the pending Ksh 93 million owed to us as our operations and preparations grind to a halt. We also call for payment of bonuses due to the players on account of their exemplary performances this season.
We also call upon the corporate sector to aid our national sides paths to glory and collective national pride. These teams not only belong to the Kenya Rugby Union but to the entire country as well, and just as we celebrate them during their moments of triumph and success, and us also chip in collectively to keep them churning out great results at the highest levels of the sport.