Rugby Rugby

Omwela threatens 7s bench with sack

KRU chairman, Richard Omwela. PHOTO/File
KRU chairman, Richard Omwela. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, June 20 – Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss, Richard Omwela, has declared they will crack the whip on the national sevens team technical bench after they joined players in going on strike to press for salary and bonus arrears.

Omwela, who confirmed they have settled outstanding dues for May and June, said they have enough money to pay the players until the end of this months when their contracts run out.

“We don’t know what the issue was. We cannot condone a management that is going on strike with players. They know what the problem was and when the money was to be paid.

“They deliberately proceeded to tell players the money was coming yet  they were aware there was a delay and why. As a Union, we cannot work with such a management. We will crack the whip, that is still the position,” Omwela avowed.

However, the team is yet to resume training with Team Manager, Steven Sewe informing Capital Sport they are waiting direction from the Union when the Board meets on Wednesday to determine their fate.

The team that is supposed to be preparing for the November, 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers in South Africa, downed their tools 10 days ago.

Besides from pay arrears, they blamed the national body for failing to provide basic training facilities such as a gymnasium, food supplements and unfavourable training pitch.

“Yes we have been paid our outstanding dues but we cannot resume training until we get direction from the Union,” the long serving Team Manager told.

With, assistant coach, Vuyo Zangqa and  strength and conditioning coach, Graham Bentz contracts still valid until September next year, it will be a tall order for the Union to do sack them owing to the huge costs of a payout.

Head coach, Felix ‘Toti’ Ochieng, who succeeded South Africa’s Paul Treu last December, faces a bleak future with his interim deal running out Friday week.

The team is eyeing a Rio 2016 Olympics ticket when the Africa qualifiers gets underway in Johannesburg where they will meet the likes of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tunisia and Uganda among others who are intensifying preparations.

Kenya had a poor outing in the 2014-15 Rugby Sevens World Series after finishing 13th on 46 points to miss automatic qualification for Brazil.

Earlier, Sewe had declared it will be impossible to achieve the dream after failing to nail a top-four finish at the Sevens Series where Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England sailed through.

“As we seek to qualify for Olympics and fight for a podium finish, a lot of the non-negotiable terms are not in place.

“The program is too volatile for players to concentrate on core business which has led to instability. We must build confidence as this is a culture change,” the team manager asserted a week ago when they announced strike action.