NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 17- SportPesa will be the new shirt sponsors of the national Rugby Sevens team beginning December, Kenya Rugby Union boss Richard Omwela has said.
Speaking to Capital Sport on Monday morning, Omwela said the betting firm will give them Sh60mn a year and have their logo at the front of the jerseys starting from the season opening series leg in Dubai.
Kenya Airways, whose deal with KRU ends in November, will now seemingly cede ground on a sponsorship deal they have held since 2011 due to the financial tribulations they are facing.
“We would have loved Kenya Airways to continue because we have had a very good partnership with them. But if you look at the papers every day, their focus is to stay in the air and not to play rugby so we don’t see them coming back on board,” Omwela said.
He has however kept it open for them to come back either having their logo at the back or the sleeves of the shirts, as well as possibly taking over the national women’s team, Lionesses.
“We have already given that (front) to SportPesa. Probably they can consider the back or the sleeve of the shirt and we are also looking at offering them the women shirt pending SportPesa agreeing. They (SportPesa) have given us some good monetary value as well as taking care of the bonuses,” Omwela added.
The betting firm in July unveiled a Sh0.6bn sponsorship to the Union covering the men’s and women’s sevens and 15s teams.
They took over the shirt sponsorship of the men’s 15s team during their last three engagements, the Elgon Cup tie against Uganda Cranes and the two test matches against Hong Kong, all played in Nairobi.
“One thing they have really helped us in is the issue of bonuses because they took on to pay all players bonuses. It has been hard for us as a Union to budget because it is not really something you can budget for so them coming on board is a huge relief,” Omwela said.
He went on to affirm they have paid all pending bonuses and allowances for all the teams including the Sevens players.