Kenya’s rugby sevens squad received a boost with the government promising to provide funding for the cash-strapped Kenya Rugby Union.
The directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta goes along way in terms of financial support and morale boost for Kenya rugby and other stakeholders.
Speaking on Sunday at the refurbished Nyayo National stadium during the beyond Zero half marathon, President Kenyatta assured athletes that the government would fund all national teams.
“Sports will take centre stage in my government’s agenda this year,” President Kenyatta said. “Our athletes are the shining star of Kenya, so all national teams be it netball or rugby, will be funded by my government. We have put in place a fund [sports fund] to take care of that and I want to tell the athletes that they will not lack uniforms or training shoes.”
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This timely directive comes at a time when Shujaa just completed their sixth outing of the 2018-19 HBSC World Rugby Sevens Series. The squad had a tough time in at the Vancouver Sevens, with Paul Muranga’s charges losing 36 – 12, 35 – 12 and 36 – 21 to Fiji, Samoa, and Canada respectively in their group B matches.
They further suffered defeat in the Challenge Cup quarter-final match against Australia 47 – 7, and 22 – 14 against Japan in the 13th place semi-final.
KRU Chairman Richard Omwela shared his sentiments on the President’s directive. “ That is welcome news. A huge relief. Our teams have struggled to produce positive results all season and that is partly because financially we are running on empty.
“This is excellent news! We are hopeful that with this endorsement at the highest government level, the payments will be regular.”
Omwela said the funding would enable Kenya rugby union to improve on the welfare of players and competitive aspect of the teams. The union will also set aside money to finance development projects and spend more on club subsidies.
Article written by Sundaa Machuki
Main Photo Credit: Kenya Rugby Union