NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has announced that the Rugby World Cup 2021 Repechage qualifier between Kenya and Colombia set for April 18 in Nairobi has been postponed after a government directive on hosting events of international status.
This comes as the country and indeed the whole world grapples with containing the spread of the coronavirus and the government announced last week that any international events will be minimized for the rest of the month.
At the same time, the government announced that it would not clear teams to travel out of the country until the situation is normalized all over the world.
“While we are disappointed that the fixture cannot take place on the set date, the health and safety of the players and officials is of utmost importance. We fully support the Kenyan authorities hence our decision to postpone this fixture to a later date,” KRU boss Oduor Gangla said.
Kenya’s Lionesses earned their ticket to the repechage after finishing second behind South Africa in the 2019 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup while Colombia’s Las Tucanes defeated Brazil 23-19 in their Sudamérica Rugby region playoff.
Though there have been no reported cases of the virus in the East African region, Kenya has taken steps to ensure the spread of the virus is contained and among them is restricting travel of sportspeople as well as blocking the travel of athletes and teams out of the country.
The men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams were the first to suffer the brunt after they were blocked from travelling to Nigeria and Cape Verde for the zonal Olympic qualifiers.
National football team Harambee Stars will also not play their 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Comoros while Athletics Kenya on Thursday said it will not clear athletes to travel out of the country.