Government snubs Brazil-bound, cash-strapped junior rugby team

Thursday June 27 2019

Kenya's Andrew Matoka (left) is tackled by Namibia's Aljerreau Zaahl during their Under-20 Barthes Trophy Pool ‘A’ final at KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka, Nairobi on April 7, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Kenya's Andrew Matoka (left) is tackled by Namibia's Aljerreau Zaahl during their Under-20 Barthes Trophy Pool ‘A’ final at KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka, Nairobi on April 7, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

GEOFFREY ANENE
By GEOFFREY ANENE
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The clock is ticking on Kenya’s men’s national under-20 rugby team to get funding ahead of the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil, even after the government pledged full support when “Chipu” — as the team is popularly known as — beat Namibia in April to qualify.

“Chipu” are scheduled to leave for Sao Paulo on July 4 having missed a 10-day training camp in South Africa and international build-up matches thanks to a big shortfall of Sh13 million.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla appealed for sponsors to support the new African champions who will take on Uruguay (July 9), Brazil (July 13) and Japan (July 17) in Pool “A” matches.

“Haco Industries, through its product Amara, gave us Sh2 million last month. We’ve just received kit worth Sh3.8 million from Hemmingway. Our kit partners, Samurai have also supported us.
“We can also not forget the support we have received through the public platform for raising money.

“We cannot quantify the support we have got from Peponi House, who have donated their pitch, gym, swimming pool and conference facilities,” he said and disclosed that KRU has planned a fund-raising dinner at the school located in Lower Kabete in Nairobi on Saturday, with the hope of salvaging the situation before it is too late.

Entry will be Sh5,000. On March 10, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that from 2019 the government will fund all national teams fully.

Principal Secretary for Sports, Kirimi Kaberia, made the same remarks on April 7 when “Chipu” booked the ticket for the eight-nation contest by hitting perennial African winners Namibia 21-18 in Barthes Trophy final in Ruaraka.

However, less than two weeks before the tournament gets underway, no support has been coming through from the government.

Kenya Under 20 travelling squad:

Ian Njenga (Nondies), Bonface Ochieng (Captain/Kenya Harlequins), Rotuk Rahedi (Millfield College), Emmanuel Silungi (Homeboyz), Hibrahim Ayoo (Menengai Oilers), James Mcgreevy(Kenya Harlequin), Brian Amaitsa (Nondies), Sheldon Kahi (Blak Blad), Samuel Asati Vice Captain/KCB), Dominic Coulson (Vice Captain/Unattached), Timothy Okwemba (MMUST), Owain Ashley (Merchiston Castle), John Okoth (Nakuru), Geoffrey Okwach (KCB), Jeff Mutuku (Kenya Harlequins), Wilfred Waswa (Northern Suburbs), Collins Obure (Blakblad), Ian Masheti (Resolution Impala Saracens), Frank Aduda (Resolution Impala Saracens), George Kiryazi (Merchiston Castle), Samuel Were (LaiserHill Academy), Barry Robinson (Kabras Sugar), Douglas Kahuri (Kenya Harlequins), Michele Brighetti (Sedburgh School), Andrew Matoka (Strathmore University) and Andrew Simiyu (South Africa).

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