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November 16, 2018

KRU threatens to pull Simbas, Shujaa out of World Cup events over funding

Kenya Rugby 15’s side during a recent match / ENOS TECHE
Kenya Rugby 15’s side during a recent match / ENOS TECHE

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) have threatened to pull out their teams from the forthcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Cup 15’s qualifiers due to lack of funds.
KRU chairman, Richard Omwela, said they have petitioned the government to come to the aid of the two teams from the start of year and up to now, they have only received Sh31 million out of a budget of 124 million that was meant to cater for all the national squads.
Should Kenya make good their threat, the teams s could be banned from t from international competition for two to three years by both Rugby Africa and World Rugby
Speaking on Tuesday in Nyeri, Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echessa said they had spent Sh80 million on various national squads this year. Omwela observed they are ready to face the consequences from Rugby Africa and World Rugby should they fail to honour the two upcoming tournaments.
“We are in a tough situation in terms of finances. We don’t have money to pay the players allowances and other miscellaneous expenses. We have only received Sh31 million to date which has been spent on various national team squads. We are yet to receive more money from government since the first tranche came in,” added Omwela
Omwela said they were banking on government to fund the teams following the exit of their main sponsors, SportPesa. “The government promised to fund all those sports entities which were under the SportPesa brand and therefore are wondering why it has taken that long,” noted Omwela.
Omwela said funding was key if Kenyans were to qualify for the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan. “Our rivals on the continent have invested in resources and build up matches. Zimbabwe and Namibia especially have hired some of the top coaches in the world and are engaged in build up matchesin a bid to give themselves a chance to qualify,” he said.
The Kenya 15s team need Sh50 million to cater the players allowances for the upcoming Rugby World Cup qualifiers which will include matches against Morocco, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Uganda and holders Namibia and salaries for the coaches. They need a further Sh15m for the Kenya Sevens team in readiness for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, USA. Omwela lamented that the cash flow problems have also hampered operations at the the secretariat.

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