KRU seek op­tions

Union looks for fall back plan as strike by se­nior play­ers threat­ens to spill over

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports Local - BY WIL­LIAM NJUGUNA @mbote­s­ports

Kenya Rugby Union are mak­ing fran­tic ef­forts to se­lect an al­ter­na­tive team for the open­ing two legs of the World Sev­ens Series in Dubai and Cape Town should the strike by the first squad en­ter the week­end.

With the 20-man squad con­tracted play­ers on strike, the union is fac­ing a race against time to have a team ready for de­par­ture next week to Dubai.

The Kenya Sev­ens con­tracted play­ers have stayed put and de­manded to be paid their Sh20 mil­lion bonus be­fore they can have their next train­ing ses­sion to­day and to­mor­row.

How­ever, the KRU have of­fered Sh3 mil­lion to cover the bonuses for the 2015-2016 sea­son but the amount has been re­jected.

A source close to the sit­u­a­tion, dis­closed that some of the play­ers ap­proached to take po­si­tions in the team in­clude Strath­more ‘trio of El­ton Isi­aho, Churchill Ooko, Alex Olaba and Mwamba’s Brad Owako among oth­ers.

The quar­tet have, how­ever, grown cold feet as they fear a back­lash from se­nior play­ers, who are on strike and have threat­ened con­se­quences on play­ers if they show up for train­ing.

The se­nior play­ers have also threat­ened the ju­nior play­ers from train­ing with un­spec­i­fied con­se­quences if they do turn up for train­ing.

The sce­nario is rem­i­nis­cent of the 2014-2015 sea­son when un­der former South African coach Paul Treu, the play­ers went on strike cit­ing wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion of con­tracts.

At that time, the likes of Oliver Man­geni, Davis Chenge, Max Theuri, Michael Wan­jala ju­nior and Fabian Olando among oth­ers served as the back plan for the union and played in the three open­ing legs thus— Gold Coast, Dubai and Port El­iz­a­beth.

New rev­e­la­tions have also emerged that play­ers didn’t sign con­tracts for the 2015-2016 sea­son and op­er­ated un­der good­will for the whole of last sea­son.

Former coach Ben­jamin Ay­imba urged the play­ers to put aside the con­tract and money is­sues and rep­re­sent the coun­try with pride.

When con­tacted yes­ter­day, KRU vice chair­man Thomas Opiyo dis­missed the claims of al­ter­na­tive squad and said the union is ex­plor­ing avenues of meet­ing the play­ers and find­ing a so­lu­tion.

“I’m await­ing feed­back from the play­ers on what they dis­cussed and we are keep­ing an open door. We have not yet reached that op­tion of pick­ing an al­ter­na­tive squad,” added Opiyo.

Opiyo, who has been lead­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions along­side di­rec­tor of squads and elite per­for­mance, Os­car Mango, was con­fi­dent a so­lu­tion will be found de­spite the race against time.

/ENOS TECHE

Shu­jaa’s Willy Am­baka bat­tles Cape War­riors ‘Ti­aan Wanepoela dur­ing the re­cent 2016 Sa­fari Sev­ens tour­na­ment in Nairobi

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