NAIROBI Kenya, July 17- The local rugby sevens series including the annual Safari 7s showpiece are now under the armpit of integrated communications service provider, Safaricom in a three-year deal worth Sh140m.
Under the agreement, Sh41.3m have been set aside for this year’s pristine event now re-branded Safaricom 7s, that will be hosted for the first time at the 60,000-seater Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani between September 20 to 22.
The rest of the circuit to be known as Safaricom 7s Series will kick-off on August 3 and 4 with the Dala Sevens in Kisumu followed by Kabeberi Sevens in Nairobi on August 10 and 11.
Nakuru will host Prinsloo (August 24 and 25) followed by Driftwoods Sevens taking place in Mombasa (August 31 and September 1) with Christie Sevens (September 7 and 8) closing the series in Nairobi.
During the unveiling of the deal at Kasarani, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss, Mwangi Muthee, urged the Government to ensure, the sport team had its own purpose-set facilities in the country.
“The game is growing day in day out. Last time we held the competition (Safaricom 7s) at Nyayo Stadium, we had 25,000 fans and hence the need to have the 2013 edition held at Kasarani,” he said.
In a bid to popularize the game, the Safaricom 7s will reward 14 fans with a fully paid trip to any of the IRB World Sevens circuit legs where Kenya finished fifth last season with 99 points.
“The two will be selected from each of the games in the circuit in a lottery which will be managed by the Telco,” Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, added whilst handing the cheque to the KRU boss.
Muthee called on supporters to turn out for the showpiece to give them a chance to evaluate the side before the kick-off their World Series 2013/2014 campaign.
“Head coach Mike Friday has assured me that all players will participate during the games,” he stated.
He added that, “I can assure everyone that Safaricom 7s is heading to the IRB World Series soon.”
Sports Commissioner Gordon Olouch assured of the government commitment to continue supporting the game.
“The game has become one of the biggest selling brands of the country and we shall support it fully. I call upon all sectors to assist us in our efforts to improve the facilities that we have,” he said.
– Joseph Muraya