Are member of the national women’s rugby team, Kenya Lionesses, children of a lesser God?
The Kenyan ladies on Tuesday protested lack of attention from the government upon arrival from Tunisia where they qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The sevens and 15s national teams have gone for three major continental and world tournaments without any support from the government.
First, it was during the World Rugby Sevens Series qualifiers in April in Hong Kong where the team reached the semi-finals and the 2021 World Cup Africa qualifier (15s) that was also the Rugby Africa Cup in August this year where the Lionesses finished second behind South Africa.
South Africa beat Kenya Lionesses 39-0 on August 17 at Bosman Stadium, Johannesburg in the Women's 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
While Springboks qualified directly for Women’s 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Kenya got a second chance to qualify for finishing second in the four-nation qualifier.
Kenya will face a side from South America, with the winner going into the 2020 Repechage qualifying tournament.
The Kenya Lionesses qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday despite losing to South Africa 15-14 in the Africa Women’s 7s tournament that doubled up as the Olympic Qualifiers in Tunisia.
By virtue of getting to this final, the Lionesses had already secured their Tokyo 2020 Olympics spot as the African representatives to earn the direct qualification after South Africa withdrew. This will be the second time the Lionesses will represent the continent in the Olympics after 2016 Rio.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla said they had in April this year submitted a budget of Sh190 million to the government for funding, which included Sh32 million for women's team events.
“We only received was Sh3 million that went to Under-20 team, Chipu allowances,” said Gangla adding that they only got Sh500,000 from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) for the Olympic qualifiers.
“We are surely a forgotten lot yet the government said it would fund all the national team activities in the country,” said Gangla, adding that the Sports Fund cleared their budget in July but the ministry is yet to release the funds. “In fact, Sh32milion for three international outings is on the lower side, our women teams are suffering.”
Team captain Philadelphia Olando said it's demoralising for the team to go without allowances from March this year up to date.
"We can't train for a month and people expect us to perform well against the likes of South Africa, who are in training throughout the year," said Olando.
Head coach Felix Oloo called for early preparations ahead of the Repechage qualifying tournament next month and next year's World Series qualifiers and Olympics.