State to hire rugby hands

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NAIROBI, Kenya, April 26- The Government is set to partner with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) to hire trained rugby experts in developing the sport countrywide with an ultimate aim of qualifying the national 15s side for the 2015 World Cup.

At the same time, the federation is set to collaborate with pay television service provider, SuperSport, to beam night Kenya Cup matches live across the continent.

Newly elected KRU chair, Mwangi Muthee, said the proposals are among programmes in place to take the sport to grassroots in line with the agenda of ensuring equal development countrywide.

Under the partnership mooted on Tuesday when Muthee and his executive paid Sports Minister, Dr Paul Otuoma a courtesy call, the officers will become attached to the Commissioner for Sports office.

“Some of the coaches that you have out there should start working with our sports officers and we can look at some kind of honoraria for them at the beginning. The honoraria will be paid through the Union to start off that programme,” Otuoma stated.

The plan will be implemented once the Sports Bill is passed since its operation is pegged on finances raised by bodies under the new laws.

Muthee’s delegation petitioned the ministry to assist in lobbying Kenya Power and Lighting Company to erect floodlights at Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds to enable night matches.

“I spoke to SuperSport head, Gary Rathbone who is interested in screening live Kenya Cup matches at night and having the lights is an important to realising this,” Muthee told.

The federation is also set to enter a mortgage agreement with Housing Finance of Kenya to purchase two additional grounds that will be used for matches and training in Nairobi.

Already, the federation has raised Sh40m for the purchase and requires a further Sh30m.

Muthee sought Otuoma’s intercession to have National Youth Service personnel contracted by KRU to refurbish RFUEA including the erection of a perimeter fence around the venue and other installations at the federation’s headquarters.

In another development, the Sports Minister promised to crack the whip on the Cricket Kenya following a disastrous World Cup performance where the 2003 semi-finalists lost all their pool matches.

“It is already public knowledge that the team went to the World Cup unprepared and if the cause of this is traced, it stems from top management. There has been no improvement in the sport; some of the names there have been around for too long,” Otuoma charged.

While saying a Government inquest process into the steep decline cricket had started, the minister urged CK executive led by Samir Inamdar to resign honourably stating,

“You cannot be a manager who is not held to account, one with nothing we cannot measure. You are better off taking what you call your skills somewhere else.”

Commissioner for Sports, Gordon Oluoch said the ministry had contacted CK and other stakeholders where it was agreed the game would be revamped in schools where there are cricket grounds that lay in disuse.

Some of the institutions include Nairobi’s Jamhuri, Eastleigh and Jaffrey’s schools.

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