, NAIROBI, May 19 – Virgin Atlantic has extended its sponsorship of the national sevens rugby team by another year.
The airline will give Sh9 million to the team for the 2008-2009 season which starts in November.
Speaking at the team’s send off for the final International Rugby Board (IRB) rounds in London and Edinburgh, Virgin’s President Sir Richard Branson said the company was happy to extend the relationship with the squad.
“Virgin is absolutely delighted to be sponsoring the team again. They had a fantastic successful year this season coming in fifth in the IRB series and we are very pleased to be sponsoring it again,” he said.
He also promised the players a fully paid holiday in the Caribbean should they win a round in the 07-08 season.
“If the team wins a tournament in the forthcoming season, all the players and their spouses will be get a holiday in the Caribbean and we will have a ball I promise you so go on and win,” said Branson.
Branson added that Virgin will begin sponsoring London marathon from 2010, “We are taking up the sponsorship but one of the conditions is that I will have to run in the 2010 edition so I have to cut down on drinking and start getting fit,” he observed dryly.
KRFU Chairman Richard Omwela explained the new aspects of the deal.
“They have matched last year’s figure of Sh9 million and on top of that they have increased the number of tickets that will be available to the squad in terms of having to fly the team between Nairobi and tournament venues. This will mean that we will have more room to swap players in case of injury and thus diversifying the variety of the team,” he said.
The team was scheduled to depart for London on Sunday evening but the trip did not take off as the plane developed mechanical problems. They are now due to depart on Monday evening.
Kenya was drawn against Samoa, Russia and Scotland in the London tournament while in Edinburgh, they will face France, Moldova and Fiji in pool D.
Dennis Mwanja, Leon Adongo, Allan Makaka, George Mbaye, Brian Nyikuli, Lavin Asego, Nato Simiyu, Naftali Bondo, Biko Adema, Allan Onyango, Horace Otieno, Joshua Gathumbi.