NAIROBI, Kenya, September 17 – The national 7s team is facing unrest with players protesting against plans by Kenyan Rugby Union (KRU) to replace their existing central contracts with performance based deals besides looming changes in the technical bench and playing unit.
Reports Wednesday said the players had gone on strike and although captain Andrew Amonde denied they had downed their tools, KRU boss, Mwangi Muthee, confirmed to Capital Sport changes to the team’s set-up had caused considerable disquiet in the unit.
“Going on strike is a lame excuse and unacceptable. We are revisiting our contractual engagements not only with the players but also the technical bench to enter into a performance agreement.
“We have to be responsible and answerable to the Kenyans as well as our sponsors so if a player form goes down or does not meet the targets, he will not be paid same case applies to the technical bench,” Muthee declared.
The development comes less than a month before they open their HSBC Sevens World Series campaign in Gold Coast aiming for a top-four slot that will qualify them for the 2016 Rio-De-Janeiro Olympics.
The KRU chief said the team will have new faces in the squad as they leave nothing to chance to improve from last season’s outing where they finished seventh on 84 points and achieve their mission of qualifying for the Summer Games.
“Their August salary is in the bank and they have never gone a month without being paid because it is channelled directly to their accounts by our sponsor.
“This is the first time we are paying them a good salary so there is no short cut, they should give extra ordinary performance in turn which they have failed to execute. We must clean up our house,” Muthee continued.
He added, “There are very many young talents we scouted from the local series so Kenyans will see new faces this season because we want to use all the available resources to ensure we qualify for Olympics. Players should know that Change is inevitable.”
Efforts to reach Team Manager Steve Sewe, were futile but Amonde dismissed the reports saying they are carrying on with their usual training.
“Those are rumours we have just come from training. Maybe you can call the team manager he is in a good position to explain,” the Skipper told Capital Sport.
This is not the first time the players are downing their tools having done so last year just a day after the appointment of head coach Paul Treu, demanding to sign pending commitment contracts with the Union.