NAIROBI, Kenya, February 28 – The national sevens rugby team has received Sh1.4 million from the government for their Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign in Dubai.
The team also received a further Sh300,000 as a token of appreciation for their performance so far this season from President Mwai Kibaki who handed over the national flag to the team at State House, Nairobi on Saturday.
“I am happy to receive you here today to express my gratitude, and that of the entire country for the achievements that you have attained in a relatively short period of time in the game of rugby,” said president Kibaki who was also presented with a replica national team jersey.
“Your achievements have been made from a relatively small pool of players around the country. It is for this reason that I welcome your plans to work with the Ministries of Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports to help spread rugby and widen the player base by introducing the game as a competitive sport in our primary schools,” he added.
Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) chairman Richard Omwela hailed the State House reception as a historic moment not just for the sevens team but for Kenya rugby.
“This is a gracious moment for the team which we have been looking forward to for a long time, said Omwela.
“This team has beaten most of the top nations in the world and have been great ambassadors for Kenya,” he added.
Omwela also took the opportunity to ask the president for assistance to stage the International Ruby Board (IRB) Junior World Rugby Trophy.
“This is the first time this tournament is being staged in Africa and it reflects the confidence the IRB has in Kenya. Our stadium (RFUEA) is underdeveloped and we appeal to you Your Excellency to help us repair this facility for the betterment of the game,” said Omwela.
Team captain Humphrey Kayange thanked the President for inviting them and promised a strong performance at the World Cup.
“Our main goal is to win the World Cup. We look forward to coming back here to have tea with you Mr. President,” said Kayange to the delight of his team mates.
Kayange and company will be feted on Sunday afternoon before departing for Dubai the same evening.