NAIROBI, Kenya, February 20 – Incumbent Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) chairman Richard Omwela is confident his development record during his tenure at the national body will help him retain his seat.Omwela said on Friday that the recognition the union has received over the last couple of years spoke volumes of his stewardship and the measures put in place to ensure rugby becomes increasingly popular.
“A lot has happened under my chairmanship. Being the sports association of the year did not come easy,” said Omwela who is seeking a third term on Ngong Road.
“We had to put systems in place to make sure that we are the best in terms of running the sport around the country,” he added.
Omwela pointed out that the union is currently implementing a strategic plan which will run up to 2010 and the importance of achieving those goals.
“There is the Junior World Rugby Trophy, we are going to our third world cup sevens in Dubai and there is also the Safari Sevens in June which are all the things we had planned before and I believe I have what it takes to achieve those programmes,” said Omwela.
Omwela is highly tipped to retain his seat when the elections are held on Wednesday has received several backings from various quarters including former Kenya Cup champions Impala.
Under Omwela’s tutelage, KRFU has boosted its revenue from Sh24 million in 2005 to Sh60 million in 2008, has secured Virgin Atlantic as a sponsor for the national sevens team and has seen KRFU establish partnerships with South Africa’s Western Province and a broadcasting deal with Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Former international prop and KRFU director in charge of 15s rugby Mwangi Muthee is the sole challenger to Omwela’s position.
Omwela was speaking after receiving a Sh2.5 million sponsorship package from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for the development of refereeing programmes to run for the entire year.
The funds will be used to cover referees training and development countrywide and other administrative costs related to them.
“This partnership is a good opportunity to enjoin all Kenyans in our vision of promoting quality products,” said KEBS managing director Kioko Mang’eli.
KEBS chairman and former KRFU secretary general Aggrey Chabeda also noted that the bureau has stepped up to offer calibration services for local sporting associations to ensure that their competitions maintain international standards.