NAIROBI, Kenya, July 9 – The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has distanced itself from the mCHEZA Rugby 7s Festival launched on Thursday by the betting firm.
At the launch attended by Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba, mCHEZA announced they had partnered with the national sevens team (Shujaa) to host the Festival slated for June 25 at the Kenya Harlequin Grounds.
However, KRU CEO Ronald Bukusi said the Union has not entered into agreement with the Kenya 7s team, neither the tournament sponsor, noting that they have introduced a process of sanctioning events.
“KRU has not entered any arrangements or agreements with the tournament sponsor and by extension the Kenya 7s team which is a product of the KRU. A product we must fiercely protect.
“Further to this, the Union has recently introduced a process to sanction events. This process is to ensure basic minimum standards are met especially with a view to safety of all attendees and participants. No such application has been received and thus we are unable to provide the necessary sanction,” a statement from KRU read.
While announcing the partnership, mCHEZA Chief Executive Officer Peter Karimi expressed excitement at hosting the Festival as it met the organization’s key pillars of identifying, nurturing and appreciating talented players.
“The Shujaa team has done the country proud by winning in the global series, and to enhance posterity of talent, the players will each be passing on their skill set to the next generation of sportsmen at the festival,” said Karimi.
“This is the first of many more exciting tournaments we will host together with one of Africa’s best rugby teams; as mCHEZA, and we hope to keep this tradition to become one of the most formidable countries to watch out for in rugby,” he added.
According to the tournament organizers, eight players in the national team; captain Andrew Amonde, world series record try scorer Collins Injera, Frank Wanyama, Oscar Ayodi, Humphrey Kayange, Oscar Ouma, Willy Ambaka and Biko Adema, will each coach a team for two days, before competing at the tournament.
The round robin format will give the 120 players their day on the field, with the best of them winning the Ksh 500,000 main cup prize.
On his part, Ayimba said, “The players have dedicated their time and expertise to enable a younger, stronger crop of players emerge from the Festival. This is the first time the Shujaas will be competing against each other, but with a common goal of strengthening the Kenya team,” said Benjamin.
The national sevens team finished seventh overall in the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens World Series on 98 points after collecting three points at the last leg in London in a season that saw them win their first ever Main Cup tournament at Singapore 7s.