Kenya Rugby Union: Chairman’s Bulletin
Before delving into matters concerning the general state of the Kenyan game, I first of all take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year.
KRU meeting with Kenya Cup club chairmen
The Kenya Rugby Union’s board recently held a meeting with the club chairmen of sides taking part in this season’s Kenya Cup. This meeting held on Friday 27 January 2012 saw fruitful discussions taking place, discussions that were geared towards charting a way forward for further development of the Kenya Cup, which is Kenya’s premier club league.
Kenya Cup expansion and further development of the game
The Kenya Cup requires systematic development for it to become a national league capable of attracting sponsorship, eventually making it Kenya Rugby’s true elite development programme.
With this in mind, a subcommittee was set up. This team, chaired by Alvas Onguru (Mwamba RFC) is composed of Thomas Opiyo (Nondescript RUFC), Chiro Nyinge (Kenya Commercial Bank RFC), Philip Jalang’o (Kenya Harlequin FC) and Terry Adembesa (Kenya Rugby Union). The team’s mandate is to draw up a road map for Kenya Cup expansion within a specified time frame that also envisages true national representation by teams taking part in the country’s top league.
The team is also tasked with drawing up sponsorship frameworks, which will then be presented to potential sponsors. The aim is to secure full sponsorship by the 2013-2014 season.
Working in liaison with the KRU’s Training and Development Manager, Fred Ollows, this team will also be tasked with drawing up the Union’s development agenda. As the Kenya Cup expands and the Eric Shirley Shield is consolidated, the nationwide leagues will be reorganized with the aim of running them at county level. They will also look at empowering and strengthening the university leagues. This is in line with attempts to define clear pathways to the Kenya Cup and in the same vein, a third tier league.
Still on matters related to development, the subcommittee will also draw up frameworks to aid the KRU develop clubs around the rich university presence in many corners of the country. This is aimed at developing permanent rugby teams in these regions. This team will also engage universities and other institutions of tertiary learning to ensure that any person enrolled for teaching courses is taken to the paces with the intention of having them acquire coaching and officiating qualifications.
This meeting also discussed the possibility of Kenya Cup sides adopting school sides in order to aid the game’s growth.
With further growth and development of the Kenya game on the Union’s agenda, the KRU is exploring the possibility of having Provincial Development Officers and County Coordinators, who will be qualified coaches and match officials. They mandate will be to share all aspects of the game with a larger populace which should have the desired outcome of increasing the country’s player base and unearthing more talent as Kenya seeks to position itself on the continental and global fronts.
The current Kenya Cup season
Though we are just approaching the halfway point of the 2011-2012 Kenya Cup campaign, this one will go down as a milestone in the Kenyan game. This year’s league has ten teams, up from the traditional eight as has been the case in previous seasons. The importance of this expanded Kenya Cup stems from the fact that players from the main catchment areas of Kenyan rugby, are featuring for their teams in the country’s top flight and this has not only stabilized the Kenya Cup but also the second tier Eric Shirley Shield. This, coupled with the fact that the current league campaign remains a closely contested affair has significantly raised the game’s profile and is definitely music to the ears of sponsors, both current and potential.
Rugby Super Series
The KRU has also reappointed Aggrey Chabeda to chair the Rugby Super Series organizing committee ahead of this year’s event. This is to ensure continuity within the tournament’s set up.
As you are well aware, the national sevens team is still rebuilding. Even as the more experienced players (who for one reason or another were unavailable from the opening legs of the 2011-2012 HSBC Sevens World Series) have been recalled to the squad. They have steered the team to great heights at the just concluded fourth and fifth legs of the series in Wellington, where they won the bowl and Las Vegas where they topped their pool, which also included England on day one, qualifying for the Main Cup quarters where they bowed out before going on to win the plate. It is worth noting that the team was eliminated by the eventual USA Sevens winners Samoa. Even with these performances, let us not lose sight of the fact that the rebuilding process is in progress. We have plenty of younger players from the academy whom we shall gradually integrate into the side as time goes by.
Safari Sevens Accounts
The accounts for the 2011 Safaricom Sevens have been shared with the title sponsors. We currently await an audit of the same before they can be posted and shared with the public.
2012 will be a busy for Kenyan rugby and this has lead to an adjustment of the calendar
The English Counties will be touring the country later in the year for matches against the East African Tuskers in June 2012. Indeed, it is worth noting that the English Counties tour to Kenya was launched in London on Thursday 16 February 2012.
Matches between Kenya and Uganda in the Elgon Cup, part of the larger Victoria Cup Tri-Nations competition that also includes Zimbabwe have been brought forward and will serve as a selection process for the East African Tuskers side to face the English Counties.
The Mpumalanga Pumas from South Africa will also tour the country. Their matches against the Kenya XV will be build up matches for the national side ahead of their remaining Victoria Cup ties against Zimbabwe.
The National XV side will defend their C.A.R African title at the Division 1 A championships in Tunisia in July this year while the Under 19s will be taking part in the C.A.R Under 19 championships in South Africa in late August. The Kenya Women’s Sevens team will take part in the RWC 2013 qualifiers in Morocco at the end of September.
Chairman, Kenya Rugby Union