Tuesday 7 January 2014
Action kicks in South Africa this weekend but coming highlights include Kenya XV playing in South Africa, Youth Academy taking off, a new constitution in place and bid committee for Safaricom Sevens being in the World Series to be launched
KENYA Sevens Rugby team players who have been relatively inactive recently will be core of the side at the weekend’s George Sevens Premier League tournament in South Africa.
A large squad travelled to the country for a 10-day camp ahead of the invitational tournament at Outeniqua Park on Saturday and Sunday.
Paul Treu, Performance Director and Head Coach of the Kenya Sevens is expected to start players who had earlier been unavailable, such as veteran and former captain Humphrey Kayange and Oscar Ouma,Dennis Ombachi , and those who have played little comprising, Michael Agevi, Tony Owuor, Dan Sikuta and Oscar Ayodi.
The tournament will be a big test for the Kenyan team that will play as Shujaa.
There will be very strong teams in the tournament with all the leading players in South Africa and international ones turning out for teams camouflaged in such names as: Samurai International, Kaizer Chiefs, Eye of the Tiger, Leopards, Western Province, Masakhane Old Boys, Sharks, etc.
But despite playing as Shujaa, the Kenyan side, among the top Seven in the world at moment will be expected to put up a forceful performance and if possible win the tournament.
In Nairobi, Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee said, the team’s action on the weekend would kick off a busy 2014 for Kenya rugby.
“Under Paul Treu, the Sevens program is firmly in place and therefore we shall be concentrating on other matters such as the growth of the national [XV] side and their quest to play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales, the strengthening of our domestic leagues and a new constitution to guide the administration of the game the coming period ending after the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil” and lastly but not least “ Get Rugby its Home” a Rugby Designated Stadium.
The KRU chairman paid glowing tribute to Treu’s management of the Kenya Sevens programme which this year will include launching a scouting project that will be focusing on all schools’ tournaments in order to pick the best talent.
Treu will guide the management of a national under-19 rugby academy which is already in place under the funding of UNICEF and the Kenya Government.
“The current camp for the Sevens squad in South Africa was arranged by Paul. A fantastic offer that cost us only Sh1,200 000 [With South Africa Domestic Flights Inclusive] For a similar project in England, prior to the last Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia, we paid Sh3 million. This is a huge saving and we are grateful to Paul and his contacts in South Africa, “Muthee said.
The KRU chairman confirmed that the National XV team will be taking part in this year’s provincial Vodacom League in South Africa.
“We have received confirmation from the South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) that we are 100% in. This will be a defining moment for our national team and a dress rehearsal for our stub at qualifying for the Rugby World Cup when we take on Namibia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar in the last hurdle [in Madagascar] in June.”
Muthee said debate, contributions and opinions about a new KRU constitution and structures of administration at the Unions headquarters have now been concluded.
“When a new constitution is in place,” he said, “ The Role and tenure of the Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the Union, for example and Chief Finance officer [CFO] will become clearer, Stakeholders will be required to endorse the new dispensation with the new constitution.”
The KRU chairman said it was the desire of the Union to pay all those involved in the game in the country, “from players, coaches and administrators decent salaries.”
He said: “Those involved in fulltime administration should make decent living out of it. Our challenge is to raise the money. If we can pay a coach Sh800, 000 and upwards, a month, why should we not pay a CEO Sh500, 000,” he paused.
Kenya’s bid for the international Safaricom Sevens to be included in the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series in the 2015/2016 season was also on track.After advanced consultation between the KRU and their partners Safaricom, a high powered Bid Committee team is set to be announced in the coming few days.
This committee will get down to working on the pre-amble to a visit by IRB [International Rugby Board] delegates for an inspection tour of the country in March.
Muthee said the Bid Committee will comprise: Safaricom Limited, Government of Kenya’s Sports Ministry, Nairobi City County Government, the Attorney General, the [Rugby] Patrons’ Society, the Media and KRU.
“Already we have immense guidance from the AG, Githu Muigai, who will personally be in the committee and everything looks very hopeful, “Muthee said.