Voice of Sport

Kenya team for Vodacom Cup in South Africa urged to embrace discipline

'We all must stand up for each other,’ said the KRU chairman, ‘this journey requires men and women with the heart and spine. If we take prima donnas to South Africa, it shall not give any value to our rugby and to our development dreams’


MEMBERS of the Kenya national team were on Thursday urged to show patience with the administration whenever there were issues that need solving.

The Kenya Rugby Union [KRU] chairman, Mwangi Muthee, alluded to the fact that  sometimes there were delays in making, say, salary payments to players but that was often because procurement of money from sponsors took time.

He cautioned players that they must be ready, sometimes, to make sacrifices. He was speaking on Thursday morning when the squad of 30, named the [Kenya] Tusker Simba XV, was announced for the tour beginning on Sunday to South Africa’s provincial Vodacom Cup.

Muthee said that discipline in the squad was key if Kenya was going to benefit from the  visit to South Africa, intended for the team’s preparation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Africa Zone qualification in June/July.

Chosen to support rugby

He said sponsors, East African Breweries Limited and Migaa Limited, had chosen to support rugby in the belief that the players and the KRU were “in pursuit of admired, proper values of life.”

In return, Muthee said, those in the squad must respond by demonstrating highest level of commitment and discipline to reach the high national and personal goals.

The team had earlier received a Sh25 million annual sponsorship from EABL and on Thursday, Migaa injected Sh13 million, the first installment in a two-year agreement. The real estate firm developing the Migaa City in the environs of Nairobi will brand the team’s playing shorts.

Right focus

But the main theme of Thursday’s ceremony was high on the need for the squad to focus on a huge challenge to learn from the advanced rugby playing South Africa, be disciplined, level headed and realistic.

Muthee said agitation over matters of salary and other comforts were serious deviation from set goals.

Below was the KRU chairman’s speech:

Titled: Naming Of National Rugby Squad for Vodacom Cup; And Farewell

 “Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this very important and happy day for our national rugby team.

A large squad will be named to take part in the provincial Vodacom Cup competition in South Africa.

We are set to reach a historic landmark.

The squad, that has been preparing for a long time, will go to Cape Town, where they will be permanently resident, and will still have several days of training prior to their first of seven ‘Northern Group’ league Vodacom Cup fixtures on March 8.

Ambitious project

Today is a time to express deepest gratitude to our sponsors who have made this possible. Without money and expression of full moral backing from East African Breweries Limited, there was no way this ambitious project would have gotten off the ground.

Our sponsors have indeed gone the extra mile to assist in the Kenya Rugby Union’s dream that our national players will achieve changed lives. Both the sponsors and the KRU are making sacrifices so that the fortunes of our national team and the players individually, can change for the better.

In return, those in the squad must respond by demonstrating highest level of commitment and discipline to reach the high national and personal goals.

The sponsors have chosen to support rugby in the belief that the players and the KRU are in pursuit of admired, proper values of life.

Discipline is key.

Uncharted ground

At the onset, let me point out that, if you cannot face challenges, arising from the fact that we are treading on uncharted ground, and that teething issues will emerge, you are probably in the wrong place.

To the squad, I say, if you are not going to South Africa to make sacrifices, the same way as the sponsors and the KRU are doing, then do not even attempt.

We all must stand up for each other. This journey requires men and women with the heart and spine.

If we take prima donnas to South Africa, it shall not give any value to our rugby and to our development dreams.

Red tape

Let us appreciate some basics; that in the management of ventures of this magnitude, certain bottlenecks are encountered each day. The corporate world has red tape and there are, at times, delays in implementation of agreements and procurement of facilities. So, you cannot succeed without PATIENCE.

Achieving partnerships with our sponsors takes long painstaking negotiations. Sometimes the negotiations take years.  Now that we are there, one cannot fathom some individuals showing frustration when some minor issues are taking time to be addressed. Often, what they are being asked is to wait for a few days.

The intentions of the sponsors and the KRU are very clear; to ensure that the squad is comfortable and that on the rugby field they can be the best they can be. But there is a limit. The sponsors and the KRU cannot give this squad CHARACTER. They cannot give you PATIENCE. That is entirely upon you.

Bigger picture

By and large, the squad understands this and it is opportune to beseech those who do not, to reflect and re-focus on the bigger picture for the good of Kenya rugby and indeed for themselves and their families.

It is critical that we show our appreciation to so many that are honestly working for the betterment of our game, our players and our country.

South African assistance

At this juncture I would also like to thank our coach Jerome Paarwater and his assistants. Then the South African Rugby Union [SARU] and the Western Province Rugby Union who have been of tremendous support.

Lastly, it is to wish the travelling party all the best, a happy stay in South Africa,  to learn more skills and play good rugby and of course register good results in the Vodacom Cup.

May God bless you all

Mwangi Muthee

Chairman, Kenya Rugby Union