Voice of Sport

Teams out in counties cry for ‘autonomy’ as Nationwide League rugby picks up pace

It is ludicrous to have regional clubs spending more money to play than even top tier Kenya Cup clubs, the pioneers of these young clubs say


THE push for Kenya Cup rugby promotion goes a notch higher in the Nairobi and Coast regions whose competitions enter their quarter final stage this weekend.

But across the Nationwide League there is impatience on how long it will take before regions gain autonomy so that they can manage their own affairs. For enthusiastic but fledgling young clubs, travel requirements have become more expensive than even of those playing in the top tier Kenya Cup.

Playing in even smaller units, such as nearest neighbouring counties forming “conferences”  in order to shorten travel, is seen as the ideal solution.

Distances

Malindi, for example, being required to visit Masaku for a fixture has long been viewed as almost ridiculous.

Says James Fraser, the leading light of Malindi RFC:

“Unfortunately once again, the Nationwide League has more walkovers than games played, but hopefully the KRU might be able to give a good think about how to get around this.

Disappointing

“I think removing teams that are not travelling, removing a team like Voi which is too hard to reach, and making sure more effort is put into scheduling would be good starts.  Apparently a lot of the University-based teams have also games scheduled during exams… this is disappointing.”

Devolving rugby administration and getting regional sub-unions up and running is seen as the solution and most urgent. Local teams understand their environments and limitations better.

Proceed

Meanwhile, in the Nairobi Region play-offs, United States International University-Africa [USIU-A], the Pool ‘A’ table toppers host Masaku who finished fourth in Pool ‘’B.

USIU-A last featured in the top-tier during the 2007 season and are definitely keen on a return to Kenya Cup action after a long hiatus. Masaku are keen to spoil USIU-A’s party in their quest to proceed further in their bid for top flight action next season.

Finalists

Athi River’s Stormers, runners-up in Pool ‘A’ are at home to Community Rugby Association [Comras] who placed third in Pool ‘B’. The Pool ‘B’ winners, Technical University of Kenya [TUK] play the fourth-placed team from Pool ‘A’, Nazarene University.

Impala III, runners-up in Pool ‘B’ play Mwamba III in the final fixture. The Nairobi regional finalists will qualify for the National quarter final play-offs.

 Coast Region

The Coast Region league is also in its quarter-final phase this weekend with one berth in the national quarter-finals up for grabs from this region.

The three other regional leagues namely Rift Valley, Western and Central are yet to complete their round robin matches.

Collated Fixtures

NATIONWIDE LEAGUE:

Saturday, January 31:

Nairobi Region:

Quarter-finals:

United States International University-Africa [USIU-A] v Masaku – 3pm (USIU-A)

Stormers v Community Rugby Association [Comras] – 3pm (Eastern Africa University, Kitengela)

Technical University of Kenya [TUK] v Nazarene University – 3pm (University of Nairobi)

Impala III v Mwamba III – 12pm (Impala)

Western Region:

Bungoma RFC v Mbale – 3pm (Bungoma High School)

Shieywe v Kisumu – 12pm (Kakamega High School)

Mt Kenya University [MKU] Kakamega Campus v Sang’alo Institute – 3pm (Kakamega Show Ground)

Kisii v Bungoma Sharks – 2pm (Gusii Stadium)

Siaya v Webuye – 3pm (Siaya Institute)

Maseno University v Homa Bay – 3pm (Maseno University)

Rift Valley Region:

Kapsabet 0-20 w/o Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] Eldoret

Moi University v University of Eldoret [UOE] – 3pm (Moi Univ)

Kitale v Eldoret – 3pm (Kitale Club)

Naivasha v Nakuru III – 3pm (Naivasha Sports Club)

Rift Valley Institute of Technology [RVIST] 0-20 w/o Kabarak University

Kericho v Egerton University – 3pm (Kericho High School)

Coast Region:

Quarter Finals

South Coast Pirates v Coast Raiders – 3pm (Ukunda Show Ground)

Malindi v Pwani University – 3pm (Malindi High)

Technical University of Mombasa [TUM] v Shepherds – 3pm (TUM)

Spartans v Taita Taveta University – 3pm (Kenya Ports Authority Sports Club, Mbaraki)

Central Region:

Laikipia Jackals v Thika – 3pm (Nanyuki Sports Club)

Kimathi University v Mt Kenya University [MKU] Thika Campus – 3pm (Kimathi Univ)

Embu University v Makueni – 3pm (Embu Univ)

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology [JKUAT] v Kiambu – 3pm (JKUAT, Juja Campus)

Chuka University 20-0 w/o v Karatina 

– Additional reporting by KRU