Mac­cles­field kit out Kenya young­sters

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RUGBY UNION ALEX HAN­NAH

MAC­CLES­FIELD Rugby Club have re­cently been thanked by Kenya based Martin Flana­gan for the kit do­na­tion they made to schools and or­phan­ages in Kil­ifi, Kenya.

Flana­gan moved to Kenya back in 2008 on a search for em­ploy­ment and ran out in the blue of Mac­cles­field on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions in the 70s be­fore his rugb ca­reer was ended by in­jury.

Rugby in Kenya is very much a de­vel­op­ing sport and the growth has been very much down to the suc­cess of the sev­ens team on the world tour.

Flana­gan be­lieved the sport would be much fur­ther for­ward than it is but a lack of fund­ing pro­vides an un­avoid­able ob­sta­cle on the road to suc­cess.

Sides strug­gle with the costs of travel and kit, so Flana­gan was very grate­ful for Macc’s do­na­tion of kit and equip­ment.

“In Kil­ifi we have a univer­sity side and I’d like to start a club side, but as with most things in Kenya, cost is a ma­jor is­sue. Travel costs are high, and most of the play­ers can not af­ford boots and socks, but now they have shirts. It is like a gift from heaven.”

Flana­gan coaches in schools, or­phan­ages and also trav­els be­tween vil­lages to teach the game. Ages range from 5-21 and says in­ter­est is at a high, with as many as 60 chil­dren turn­ing up to some of the ses­sions.

“We have beach train­ing for all age groups, most train­ing ses­sions can range from 20 to 60 kids and at week­end you can have five ses­sions a day, and I get help from the univer­sity play­ers to coach. With no TVs or com­put­ers to dis­tract we are the main at­trac­tion. We also feed the kids on a Sun­day af­ter train­ing so they get a meal to start the week.”

Flana­gan helps to or­gan­ise tour­na­ments in the lo­cal in­clud­ing the Watamu beach rugby com­pe­ti­tion which at­tracts the odd tour­ing side from abroad. The tour­ing sides get the chance to play in the three-day tour­na­ment and see some of the lo­cal sights.

“We do have a num­ber of tour­na­ments in the area most seven a side and the na­tional league and the odd tour­ing side,we also have an In­ter­na­tional beach rugby tour­na­ment which is an 3 day event in July with the avail­abil­ity of sa­fari and the coastal beaches.”

Flana­gan fin­ished with a fi­nal thank you to those in­volved at Mac­cles­field Rugby Club, as their do­na­tion has made a lot of chil­dren 3000 miles away very, very happy.

●● Kenyan young­sters with kit and equip­ment pro­vided by Mac­cles­field RUFC

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