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Kenya U-20 rugby star Brighetti will now play for Italy

Saturday January 18 2020
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Michele Brighetti (right) and KRU official John Ohaga before the Kenyan team left for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy. PHOTO | COURTESY |

By AYUMBA AYODI

Kenya Under-20 back Michele Brighetti has ditched Kenya for Italy.

Brighetti, who featured for the Kenya Under-20 Chipu team took part in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil in July last year. He has already been picked in the Italian team for the Six Nations 2020 Under-20 Championships.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), on its Twitter handle, congratulated Brighetti for being selected in the team that will play England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the Six-Nation contest that will be played in five rounds from January 31 to March 15.

“Congratulations to our #Chipu star Michele Brighetti for making the Italian Under-20 rugby squad,” said KRU on Twitter.

The move has raised eyebrows in Kenya since Brighetti has already played for the National Under-20 team that also won the Africa Under-20 title also known as Barthes Cup in April last year.

However, the World Rugby eligibility rules, regulation 8, allow a player to switch nationalities as far as he has not player for a country’s senior team.

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Brighetti, who went to Pembroke School in Kenya and Sedbergh, still has two countries to play for at senior level since Kenya allows dual citizenship.

That means that Brighetti can still feature for Kenya at senior level if he does not choose to play for Italy which many in rugby circles feel will have more opportunities for the young players unlike Kenya.

Michele is the son of former Kenya Cup champion Nondies sensational winger Marco Brighetti, who is also a renown former rally driver.

A player can be eligible to play for a country at international level if they were born in the country or have a parent or grandparent who was born in the country.

Someone can also play for a country if they have lived in that county for three consecutive years to gain citizenship Brazil in July last year.

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