Kenya Rugby Union boss provides his scorecard after one year in office

Kenya Rugby Union chairman Sasha Mutai. Photo: Arigi Obiero [KRU]

Kenya Rugby Union boss provides his scorecard after one year in office

Joel Omotto 14:39 - 29.04.2024

Kenya Rugby Union chairman Sasha Mutai has painted a positive outlook of his tenure in office since his election one year ago.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Sasha Mutai believes his tenure has been off to a great start following his election on March 29, 2023.

Mutai replaced Oduor Gangla at a time the standards of Kenyan rugby were at an all-time low with the poor performance of both sevens and 15s teams and financial problems facing the union.

Matters were compounded with the relegation of Shujaa from the World Sevens Series just weeks after the new team was elected, showing the difficult task that awaited them.

However, one year in, Mutai feels there is plenty to be optimistic about, especially with the national teams, who he says are on a route back to glory following the implementation of a number of key strategic decisions.

“The money is starting to come in. You have seen new sponsors like Jamii Telkom, Tusker are back after a number of years out, and we are in discussions with some of these big corporates,” Mutai told Citizen TV on Monday.

“We have injected professionalism, new teams we have put in to work with national teams. The sevens team was named in August last year, fully Kenyan, and we have Chris Brown [Strength and Conditioning expert] helping as consultant for high performance from World Rugby.

“That team took us to the Olympics, we beat the best team in Africa, South Africa, now we are the best sevens team in Africa. We are not in the World Series but in a few weeks, we hope to be there where we belong.

“We are confident, we have both teams, the Lionesses and Shujaa in camp in Kasarani for the last one week,” added Mutai on the national sevens teams that are preparing for their final round of the Challenger Series slated next month.

With the return of the Super Series after an over 10-year absence, the KRU boss says there are big plans for the franchise tournament.

“Super Series we intend it to be a professional league next year, first professional sports league in Kenya,” he added. “We already have one investor putting in 10 acres of land in Tigoni which is worth a few hundred million.”

KRU is also laying strategies on how to lift the 15s team (Kenya Simbas) which is hoping to seal qualification to the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

Mutai believes the only way to get it right is working bottom-up and is excited by the collective effort from both the senior and junior team coaches who worked with the Kenya U20 (Chipu) ahead of the Barthes Trophy which they won, following a 28-13 victory against hosts Zimbabwe, in Harare on Sunday.

“We had Jerome Paarwater the head coach of Simbas working together with the coaches because the system now that Kenya rugby is playing is what the Simbas head coach wants. He is running the programme so what he wants at Simbas is coming down to U20 Chipu, U18, U15 so we are playing one system. We are structured,” said Mutai.

While Mutai is painting a rosy picture, his tenure has been rocked by leadership wrangles that saw the tabling of a no confidence motion in him by two clubs in March.

KRU has a Special General Meeting on May 3 which will address some of the tension but Mutai hopes it will also set in motion a roadmap to a new constitution.

“We need to implement the new revised constitution which has been lagging for a while. The first draft was sent out and after the SGM and accounts, the next thing to do is to pass the revised constitution that has to be in line with the Sports Act and World Rugby,” he said.

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