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Shujaa’s Dubai flop exposes KRU divisions

SIKUTA-AUSTRALIANAIROBI, Kenya, December 10- A row has erupted within the ranks of Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) with boss Mwangi Muthee accusing his directors of contributing to woeful performances of the country’s national sevens team by undermining South Africa head coach, Paul Treu.

In a swift rejoinder, a director who spoke in confidence said the chairman should shoulder responsibility for Kenya’s underwhelming showing in the opening two legs of the 2014/15 HSBC World Sevens Series in Gold Coast and Dubai with the country lying 14 out of 17 with only four points.

“A democratic policy that delegates different roles to directors of the KRU could, after all, be the cause of the woes of the Kenya Sevens rugby team.

“The national squads docket is being handled to the much dissatisfaction of the Kenya Sevens Performance Director, Paul Treu and many players,” a statement released by Muthee stated.

It added: “For instance, in an ongoing revamped system of awarding one-year contracts to players, wages have been reduced. Instead of raising a storm, which they feel would in any case be futile; several players have quietly devised ways of opting out of the squad by reporting unavailability.”

The chairman announced plans Tuesday to streamline the handling of the national squads docket within the union.

On his part, the director who spoke to Xinhua claimed Muthee was the stumbling block to the progress of the team since he was not keen on engaging the entire KRU leadership in decision making process of the side.

“Of 12 games Kenya has played so far in the HSBC circuit, we have only beaten Brazil and Japan which are not core sides. Muthee is the problem since we talk of a Union and he is doing things on his own.

“For instance, reports that senior players are going to be recalled for Port Elizabeth are laughable since it takes at least 10-days to process a South African visa and even then, the squads are submitted early enough so there’s no way it can happen,” he explained ahead of the third leg of the series next weekend in South Africa.

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The director was responding to a story published in a local daily attributed to his boss experienced hands including vice-captain, Collins Injera, Oscar Ouma, Patrice Agunda and Michael Wanjala who were axed after fallout with KRU over central contracts and medical insurance among other issues.

“We are not going to let the disfranchising of established players nor make aspiring young players hopeless. We are going to open up excellent opportunities to those committed to the squad [Tier 1] so that they can rely on their performance to earn a decent living as long as they are in the squad

“The performance-based contracts should not include salary cuts. In fact there will be better remuneration, better insurance and medical cover. You’ve got to put this in place so that you can demand more from players,” Muthee stressed in his statement.

The Union boss then defended the South African head coach alleging elements within the federation were working to ensure he failed in his stated mission to qualify the country for next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio.

“The big question is how much Kenyans have contributed to making work difficult for Paul.

“The recruiting of Paul Treu met with interference of some individuals responsible for some of the hurdles he has to go over now. He came to Kenya a world class coach; a coach who had won two World Series titles with a South African team he had meticulously built over time. He had won no less that 14 rounds of the World Series.”

Kenya won only one of their six matches in Dubai going down in all their Pool C matches to Australia, England and USA under former head coach, Mike Friday before being given a heavy pasting of 40-5 by Samoa in Bowl quarters.

Kenya beat Brazil 22-7 in the Shield semis before bowing out to Canada for the second round in a row as a vastly inexperienced side sealed a listless outing in the desert sunshine.

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