KRU targets younger players with focused minds

By the punter
Aug 13, 2021
  • Kenya won only one match at the RWC 7's in San Francisco. (Photo by David Kiania)

“We have disbanded the squad and will do a fresh start to the season perhaps with a younger crop of players with focused minds.”

It was just a matter of time before the Kenya Rugby Union formalized a complete overhaul of the Kenya Sevens team following a lacklustre performance at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, California at the end of July, 2018.

At the three-day event, Kenya won only one match and lost an automatic qualification for the next tournament.

Immediately after the event, Richard Omwela, the KRU chairman who was in San Francisco warned that heads will roll. True to his words, it appears KRU are in the process of identifying a squad for the next World Rugby Sevens World Series.

Sports News Arena authoritatively established from highly-placed insider about the pending changes. The source who is privy to the information but is not allowed allowed to comment explained that technically, KRU had a mandate to identify a ‘new’ squad.

“Technically, all players’ contracts have terminated as at 31st July, 2018 and the technical staff contracts expire in October,” the source confirmed.

Omwela had explained KRU would wait for a technical report on the RWC before the Board discussed the way forward.

In a nutshell, the overhaul started from incidents during the last two legs of the 2017/2018 WRSWS Season in London and Paris. The bone of contention was sponsorship by Brand Kenya.

RWC 7's preparations

This spilled into preparations for the RWC Sevens when the coach Innocent Simiyu stepped in to take responsibility of an alleged ‘mutiny’ by the players which resulted into them playing without the sponsor’s brand in Paris.

Our source stated: “Simiyu should have rendered unqualified apologies for what he did post Paris and he did not which means carrying forward with him without that is an issue.”

It is possible that Simiyu may not be part of the new set up after he was ‘relieved’ of his duties by KRU and reinstated by the Sportc Cabinet Secretary.

“Regrettably, his contract will not be renewed and KRU will be advertising the same and he is eligible to apply subject to him agreeing to work with the Board or part ways. He cannot be an employee of the Union and continue to defy the employer,” our source explained.

The purge will also affect some senior players who have been identified as the ring leaders of the ‘mutiny’. The KRU chairman admitted they had no full control of the players before the RWC Sevens in San Francisco and are keen to tighten the loopholes.

This is a familiar scenario for the Kenya Sevens team which had a successful season breaking through the 100 point barrier for the first time.