NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – The national rugby teams have received a major boost after Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) through its brand Tusker entered into a one-year partnership worth Sh115 million with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).
Sh37.5 million will go into supporting the KRU in all its activities, including the men’s and women’s national Sevens and Fifteens teams.
The sponsorship will also go into rugby clubs across the country as well as universities in an effort to grow and nurture rugby talent in Kenya.
The announcement comes as a sigh of relief after the Kenya Sevens, Kenya Simbas, the Chipu (Kenya Rugby U20) and the Kenya Lionesses struggled to make ends meet due to lack of financial support.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held on Friday, KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku, expressed the company’s delight in announcing this investment in the sport.
“On behalf the Kenya Breweries Limited, we are delighted to announce this investment in the sport of rugby in the country. Ours is not just an investment, it is also a deep commitment to continue growing and developing the sport of rugby in the country with both the present and the future in mind,” she said.
This announcement comes at an opportune time for Kenyan rugby, as the Sevens teams kick off preparations for the Olympic qualifiers to be held later in the year.
Karuku also mentioned that part of the investment will go into ensuring that this year’s edition of the Safari Sevens will return the tournament to its former glories.
“We want to see the Safari sevens this year, getting back to its former glory, when it was the Tusker Safari sevens that is why we have also set a side part of our investment to ensure that we achieve this,” she said.
Speaking at the same event the EABL Marketing & Innovation Director Graham Villiers-Tuthill, reiterated the company’s commitment towards turning rugby into a professional sport in the country.
“We have walked with Kenya rugby through all these years and today marks yet another chapter in our journey to seeing Kenya become a professional rugby playing nation.”
On his part the Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Oduor Gangla saod; “Tusker has been associated with the Safari Sevens in different capacities for over twenty years, as the Title Sponsor and as the Official Alcoholic Beverage partner. It is very reassuring to see them continue to support this event.”
“It promises to be a great march forward for players and fans and we thank Tusker for their continued belief and support of the Kenya Rugby Union,” Gangla added.
After a successful National Sevens Series, rugby action moves to Nakuru on the weekend of September 21, where the Kenya Simbas will host Zimbabwe in their last fixture of the 2019 Victoria Cup, thereafter the Safari Sevens slated for October 18 to 20.