Rugby Rugby

Richard Omwela re-elected KRU chair

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Kenya Rugby Union boss Richard Omwela got 25 votes narrowly beating Mutai who managed 23. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 –

Richard Omwela has earned another two year term as the Kenya Rugby Union chairman after beating former deputy chair Sasha Mutai in a hotly contested election on Wednesday evening during the KRU Annual general Meeting.

Omwela who hinted this will be his final term at the helm of the Union got 25 votes narrowly beating Mutai who managed 23 while Western Bulls chairman Rajinder Sembi was third after managing nine votes.

“I am pleased to have been re-elected and I want to thank the affiliates for voting me in. It hasn’t been an easy process but we are happy we could see the end of it,” Omwela said after the exercise overseen by the Kenya National Sports Council.

While celebrating the hard fought victory, Omwela affirmed he deserved another term especially with what he termed as his success record since coming into office.

He listed the acquisition of a headline sponsor by the Union as one of his major milestones as well as streamlining the leadership to ensure there’s a clear separation of roles between the directors and the secretariat.

Omwela further pointed out that on the pitch, he has overseen success, pointing out Kenya winning the Singapore leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series last year as one of his major achievements.

He has also singled out out the improvement of the national 15s team from 28th to a high of 23rd globally as one of the successes seen under his leadership.

Sasha Mutai (right) congratulates Richard Omwela after he was re-elected into office, beating him by two votes during the Kenya Rugby Union Annual general Meeting on March 22, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Looking on, he has underlined qualification to the 2019 Rugby World Cup as his biggest target.

“My focus will be to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and every effort must be done towards that because Kenya has never played in the World Cup before. If I achieve that before I leave then I will say goodbye with a smile. That is my priority,” noted the chairman.

He has also added he will be looking to add more sponsors into the Union as he seeks to make it more financial viable to ensure better remuneration for the players as well as the development of the game in the grassroots.

Meanwhile, Mutai who had hoped to clinch the seat but lost narrowly accepted defeat but added he will continue championing for change at the Union in order to ensure the game grows.

“I might have lost but if you look at the votes, it tells you there was a huge cry for change because almost half of the delegates voted against the current leadership. For me I am still in Rugby and I will continue giving my support when needed,” a rather calm and composed Mutai said after the result was announced.

He has however decried the existence of ‘cartels’ within the Union adding KRU is not a political movement and such should not exist. Among the things he says he will be championing for include the recognition of more affiliates to the Union as well as review of the constitution.

During the AGM, the affiliates passed a motion to review and revise some sections of the KRU constitution as well as putting a minimum requirement for anyone vying for a position at the Union as the Sports Act requires.

-Kamau elected overwhelmingly-

Sylvia Kamau is congratulated by Billy Githinji after she was elected as a Kenya Rugby Union director during the Annual General Meeting on March 22, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

At the same time, Oscar Mango’s bid to be re-elected into the board fell flat after he finished fifth in the votes with Strathmore University’s Sylvia Kamau overwhelmingly voted into one of the four vacant posts.

Kamau got 46 votes. Ian Mugambi was re elected after getting 38 votes while the new entrants will be Raymond Olendo and Ezekiel Owuor.

Speaking after her election, Kamau underlined her biggest target will be to ensure the national women’s teams are strengthened as well as championing for a development agenda for the game from the grassroots.

“Women’s rugby is close to my heart. They have been neglected for a long time and even the league is small; it runs five weeks in a year. We have enough talent in the country to put women’s rugby somewhere,” she noted.

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