NAIROBI, Kenya, October 17 – After a lot of speculation and half truths and talks spanning two months, its now true that Paul Treu is the man to lead the national rugby sevens team as head coach with a lot on his in-tray already ahead of his unofficial unveiling next week.
The worst kept secret in Kenyan rugby was confirmed early this week that the former South Africa Blitz Bokke coach would succeed Englishman Mike Friday at the helm.
Unlike his predecessor, hiring Treu and his team proved to be a complicated process since he is set to be a permanent resident in Kenya, with an official house, car et al.
However, with Kenya Airways, the team’s title sponsors yet to commit their 2013/14 package to Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), Treu could wade into the murky waters that characterise local sport from the get go.
According to sources who have spoken in confidence to Capital Sport, Treu demanded financial security to implement his programme and with KQ dallying with their deal, he was hesitant to put pen to paper.
“Once he comes, he wants all programmes to run without any hitch since he has a long term plan to establish our team as regular winners on the IRB Circuit and above all, the 2016 Olympics,” our informant said.
KRU boss, Mwangi Muthee and other union big wigs travelled to South Africa to lock down the contract last week as the team had its first run out in the 2013/14 HSBC World Series in Gold Coast.
The manner Kenya, under the command of Felix Ochieng, widely expected to revert to his previous role as assistant coach in the new administration, capitulated to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji in their last pool game, Main Cup quarter and Plate final must have made disturbing viewing for the new man.
“As you saw, there is much work to be done on the boys to make them last for the intensive two days of top competition. We are not there yet and for this to happen, the new coach is keen to stay here and supervise all the programmes,” the source added.
Treu’s hard bargain and protracted negotiations with KRU according to our mole are geared towards establishing another extended stay for the man who was in charge of South Africa for seven years, leading them to the HSBC Series victory three seasons ago.
“He does not take a short term role that is why the talks were long and protracted. He wanted to meet everyone involved, the union, sponsors and the Government before taking the job.”
KRU deputy chair, Sasha Mutai, confirmed Wednesday that Treu would be the man to head the side in an initial deal running three years after speculation mounted the job should be given to Ochieng who despite the three heavy loses, led Kenya to rake in 12 points from their opener in Australia.
Treu’s first assignment will to get the squad ready for the Dubai Sevens that go down on the weekend of November 29 and 30 with Kenya once again facing the All Blacks, France and Portugal in Pool A, fresh from the 31-0 hiding at the hands of New Zealand who bagged the Gold Coast crown.
The team left for Gold Coast a fortnight ago without signing contracts for the new season despite KQ boss Dr Titus Naikuni having confirmed the renewal.
“We did discuss other alternatives to retain Paul at SARU but he has an understandable desire to go to the Olympic Games in 2016. We hope to see him working in South African rugby again in due course,” the South Africa Rugby Union president, Oregan Hoskins, said in June when the Blitz Bokke boss stepped down.
“I have had a wonderful time at SARU and would like to thank the organisation for the opportunity they have given me. We have had some wonderful highs in the past 10 seasons and I hope I have added value to South African rugby.
“This was a decision I had thought long and hard about for some time and those close to me will know that it was something that I had agonised over. But I believed the time was right to move on – both for me and the team – and I wish them all success in the future,” the man who alongside Friday, was among five high profile coaches to quit their positions after the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow.
According to KRU boss Muthee, the ‘nitty gritties’ of Treu’s deal will be announced on Monday.