Rugby Rugby

Murunga challenges KRU on youth


CHIPU-NANJINGNAIROBI, Kenya, September 11 –National rugby under-19 head coach Paul Murunga, has challenged Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) to invest in the junior teams if the country is to qualify for 2019 World Cup.

Murunga, who managed both the under-18 sevens team that finished fourth at the Youth Olympic Games in China and 15s who lost to hosts Namibia in the finals of the Confederation of African Rugby Division 1 A Championships, says it has been difficult tracing players once the games conclude since there is no systematic database.

“KRU needs to invest in juniors just as they have done with the 7s and 15s because nothing has been done at grassroots where most of the talent comes from. It’s a challenge for the Union to put money in the development of youth.

“The 7s and 15s teams that we took in China and Namibia are the best crop of talent we can get at the moment because looking at the 15s it was our first time to win in Windhoek when we beat Zimbabwe and if we are able to put them in academies then we will have a future sevens and 15s team,” Murunga told Capital Sport.

The Homeboyz head coach said he was yet to meet national 15s boss, Jerome Paarwater and his South African compatriot, Paul Treu who is in charge of the 7s side to chart a way forward as he called on KRU to facilitate training for local coaches to pass on knowledge to their clubs.

“I might not know their plans but we need to see how to lift the juniors and have a good team for Kenya. If we decide to work separately during World Cup qualifiers in 2018, we will go nowhere.

“To be honest there are no youth structures, that’s why we struggle in assembling a strong squad because some of the players disappear to clubs while others might not even play for the rest of their lives.”

When Mwangi Muthee was elected KRU chairman in 2011, one of his key agenda in his manifesto was to develop youth structures and women rugby but according to Murunga, a former international, nothing has been done forcing them to depend on Kenya Secondary School Games to pick their squad whenever there is a major tournament.

“It’s hard to raise a national team without funds; we operate on zero budget and that’s why our players are inexperienced compared to other teams like Namibia and Zimbabwe,” the coach concluded.

The team only managed to win one trophy this season after edging out neighbours Uganda 37-27 on aggregate to lift the Elgon Cup.