Rugby Rugby

Simiyu took responsibility for Paris fiasco – KRU

Shujaa head coach Innocent Simiyu overseeing training for the Kenya 7s team at RFUEA Ground on 21st February, 2018. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 21 – The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has revealed that it sacked head coach Innocent Simiyu because he was fully responsible for the masking of ‘Make it Kenya’ sponsor logo.

On Thursday, a day that saw the Kenya Rugby Union dominate the headlines for the wrong reasons, saw Simiyu shown the door four months to the end of his contract even as he guided the Shujaa team to collecting highest points (104) in a HSBC Sevens World Series.

“The Kenya Rugby Union has mutually parted ways with Kenya Sevens Head Coach Innocent Simiyu effective immediately. He took full responsibility for the display that saw the playing unit blank out sponsor’s branding in Paris Sevens which negatively impacted our country and sponsor’s image,” KRU said in a statement.

“We are fully aware that the Rugby World Cup Sevens is around the corner and are taking the necessary steps to ensure our participation,” the Union added.

Kenya Sevens haed coach Innocent Simiyu after naming the squad. Photo/ RAYMOND MAKHAYA

It has been an eventful day at the KRU with Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in the morning announcing that he has instructed Brand Kenya to cancel their Sh20mn sponsorship with the Sevens team over the Paris scandal.

The Union in turn released a statement later in the day accusing the players of causing what Balala described as a ‘shame’.

It is left to be seen whether the Union will now disband the team and start afresh, just less than a month to the Rugby World Cup in San Francisco, USA.

KRU shifted blame back to the players, saying they had clearly explained the financial situation of the new sponsorship deal before the Paris 7s.

Kenya Rugby Union chairman Richard Omwela.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“The delay in payment to players was clearly communicated the team via its management. The consequences of their actions were also clearly communicated to the Team, before they took this step.  The Team was also told that they would be paid upon their return to Kenya at which time we expected our finances to have improved with funding from government and sponsors,” a statement from the Union read.

It further explains that Sh4mn of the Sh20mn package was paid to the Union while the players were entitled to Sh100, 000 each as ‘a token of appreciation’ for their performance, top of it being reaching the Vancouver 7s final.

“This money was not payment for appearances, bonuses or allowances. It was a one off token of appreciation and this was clearly explained to the players,” the Union further states in its defense.

They further go on to explain that the money hit their accounts on June 4, a few days before the Paris leg and they go on to state that the players were promised to get their share of earnings after Paris.