KRU seek options
Union looks for fall back plan as strike by senior players threatens to spill over
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.
Shujaa’s Willy Ambaka battles Cape Warriors ‘Tiaan Wanepoela during the recent 2016 Safari Sevens tournament in Nairobi