NAIROBI, Kenya, March 17 – The national sevens rugby on Tuesday received Sh3.25 million from Safaricom for its exemplary performance at the fifth Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai.Each of the 12 players received Shs250,000 for making the main cup semifinals at the tournament where they lost to Argentina. Head coach Benjamin Ayimba also received Sh250,000.
Safaricom had made announced a cash pledge to the team ahead of the tournament where each member of the playing squad was to receive Sh500,000 if they got to the finals of the main cup competition and Sh250,000 reward per player for getting to the semis.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said: “I think you did really well considering you beat Fiji by such a large margin and that you lost to Argentina with much smaller margin. I think that was pretty good effort on your part and so I am really happy to be here honouring our commitment to you.”
“On behalf of the players, I would like to say thank you to Safaricom. We are very humbled by such rewards especially after the hard work we have done on the pitch. Its morale booster as we head out to Hong Kong and Adelaide,” said Captain Humphrey Kayange.
The national sevens team made history by reaching the semis for the first time ever after defeating Fiji 26-7 in the quarter finals. In the group stages, Kenya beat Tunisia 29-7 and Hong Kong 43-7 but lost to England 26-7 in the last pool game.
Before the tournament in Dubai, the national team had lost in the final of the plate competition at the San Diego Sevens after having earlier beaten the eventual plate winners and the defending world champions, New Zealand for the first time in the history of the IRB World Sevens series. Kenya is currently ranked sixth after the USA leg of the IRB circuit.
At the same time, talented Nondies Fly half Biko Adema will miss the forthcoming IRB series in Hong Kong and Adelaide. Ayimba said that the youngster will not make the trip due to school commitments.
Joshua Gathumbi is set to replace him in the squad which will be named on Thursday.