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Shujaa optimistic after CS Echesa meeting

Kenya Sevens players pose for a group photo with Sports CS Rashid Echesa after a meeting at his office on June 25, 2018

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25- Kenya Sevens skipper Oscar Ayodi is hopeful that a long lasting solution will be found after he led the players to a meeting with Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa at his office on Monday afternoon.

This is in the wake of last week’s unfolding where Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala cancelled the Sh20mn ‘Make it Kenya’ Brand Kenya sponsorship after the players masked out the logo during the Paris leg of the World Sevens Series last month in protest over lack of pay.

Echesa who is also expected to meet his Tourism counterpart Balala, officials from Brand Kenya as well as Kenya Rugby Union honchos called the meeting with the players to have an understanding from their end on what transpired in Paris.

“I could say it was a fruitful meeting because essentially, the CS just wanted to get an understanding from the players’ point of view of which we explained to him. Basically, it is just everything that is in the public domain,” Ayodi told Capital Sport.

The drama that dominated headlines for two days claimed its first casualty with head coach Innocent Simiyu fired just four months to the end of his contract, while there were talks of player mutiny over the decision to axe the tactician.

“We explained everything to him from our end and seeing that he is a person who is very passionate about sports, we know that he will get a solution to this. As players that is what we want,” Ayodi further noted.

Kenya Sevens players listen as Sports CS Rashid Echesa speaks with them during a meeting at his office on June 25, 2018

He also hopes that the intervention of the ministry boss will also see their dues being paid, admitting they are still owed May salaries by the Union.

“The last time, they told us that they have not paid because they do not have money. But with the ministry coming in, hopefully there will be a budget for that and payment will come soon,” he said.

On Balala’s directive that Brand Kenya should pay the players individually the Sh100,000 token owed to them, Ayodi says they will communicate to the government agency on mail so as to set up a date for a meeting.

Meanwhile, he says the players area ready to go back to training, saying they are concerned that time is running out with the Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco, USA only 24 days away.

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“All we want to do is go out and play because that is what we love doing. We were to go back to training today but it wasn’t possible. We are hopeful that probably in the next few days we should be back because time is running out and we need every training day to be ready for the World Cup,” the skipper added.

The drama surrounding the team and sponsorship is a huge anti-climax to a successful season which saw the team breach the 100-point mark for the first time in their history having ended the season with 104.

The side also reached two back to back Cup finals to cap an improved season under Simiyu. Reports within the Union indicate that Will Webster who was Simiyu’s assistant is set to take over ahead of the World Cup.

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