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05 June 2023

Relegation – Opportunity or Obstacle?

 Relegation - Opportunity or Obstacle for Investment in Rugby?


Perhaps the best thing that could have happened to rugby in Kenya was its relegation at the London 7s World Series two weeks ago.  If Kenya had scraped by, and kept their place by the skin of their teeth, profound change to the structure and investment in rugby in Kenya would have been delayed further.  There is now an urgency and a focus into what needs to happen to get Kenya back on top.


The new Chairman of the board at the KRU, Alexander “Sasha” Mutai, has spearheaded an effort to get funding in place from the Ministry of Sport and corporate sponsors.  In talks with Sport Pesa, he has assured Kenyans that there is the will and the funding to get Kenya back onto the World Series within a year and to get Kenya to qualify straight off as Africa’s number 1 nation for the Olympics by defeating South Africa in September.


The short term efforts are clear; get the players motivated by paying them well and on time, provide extensive strength and conditioning training, and get the team into full-time residential training camps where they can fully concentrate on the sport and team building.  Crucially, find the joy in the sport again.


But the long-term efforts have yet to be clarified.  Mr Mutai has mentioned that rugby should be part of the curriculum in primary schools, that public and private schools must be brought together to compete against each other more widely and frequently, and that there should be a National Schools Rugby Tournament.


The Futures Cup, organised by DBA Africa, is the start of this long term investment effort.  Over 1000 children, both boys and girls, have been trialling across Kenya to participate in the Futures Cup, which will be held on 14-16th of July, 2023 at St Christopher’s School in Nairobi. We see this tournament as the first stepping stone towards an U17 tournament next year, with hopefully even more children participating. Our motto says, “it takes a village to make a champion,” as we are brining together local governments, schools, coaches and elite athletes to find the future rugby talent that is so wide spread in Kenya.  We have proven that a small investment can go ever so far.  It is our hope that many Kenyans will embark on this journey with us.

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