by Juma Pondamali
The Kenya Rugby Union has asked the government to release sh90 million to enable it fund three key events for the sport in the coming months.
The union has also appealed to the corporate world to step in to enable it fund activities for the Men’s 15s team, and the Sevens teams for men and women.
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 Gaborone, 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”, the union says.
On the Sevens front, the 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”, KRU adds.
Simba, the 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 Zealander 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”, KRU said.
“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”, the Union said noting that after presenting a budget of sh124m to the government, only sh31m had been released.
“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”, noted KRU.