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Referees refused to officiate demanding all their dues

Inaugural Gusii 7's marred by controversy

In Summary

• Nairobi Boys won the tournament after a 29-12 win over Full Back Tigers.

• 12 teams participated in the inaugural event.

Action between Kisii RFC and Kitale RFC during the inaugural Gusii 7's.
Action between Kisii RFC and Kitale RFC during the inaugural Gusii 7's.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

The inaugural Gusii 7s concluded on Sunday evening in controversial circumstances after referees accredited by the Kenya Rugby Union boycotted the tournament.

Organisers had to get makeshift referees to officiate at the tournament from quarterfinals stage. The referees demanded their dues before the tournament concluded, demands that tournament director Benjamin Ayimba could not stomach.

“Some of the referees were not invited while the cheques we were given by sponsors are not ready. The demands from the referees and their action to boycott the tournament was unprofessional,” said the former Kenya 7’s coach.

Kisii RFC secretary Joseph Okongó, who invited the teams and referees also faulted the organisers for reneging on their promises. However, Okongó went ahead and officiated one quarterfinal match and a semifinal after his colleagues' withdrawal.

Ayimba put up a brave face saying next year’s tournament will be better organised. This year’s edition was characterised by poor turnout of fans. Some said the gate charges of Sh500 in the VIP area and Sh200 in the regular places was too high.

In the final which went deep into the night, Nairobi Boys beat Full Back Tigers 29-12 to lift the title. Collins Shikoli scored four tries while Eliakim Moswa scored one.

Captain Mohammed Omolo had two conversions. Kenya 7’s internationals Mark Wandeto and Johnstone Olindi landed two tries for Full Back while Olindi added a conversion.

“Despite the referees' hitch, it was a good tournament and very strong teams participated. Our team consisted of players from various teams in Nairobi and we used it to prepare for the forthcoming 7’s season,” said Omollo.

Hosts Kisii RFC battled to a 17-12 win over Kitale RFC in the third place playoff. In the semi-finals, Nairobi Boys beat Kisii RFC 7-5 while Full Back overcame Kitale RFC 25-0.

Winners received Sh300, 000 with runners up getting Sh200, 000. Second runners up went home with Sh100, 000. The tournament was sponsored by Kisii County Government, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, NACADA, Coca-Cola, Airtel among others.