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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya seeks funds for national rugby team
ahead of World Cup Repechage tournament

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Financial woes have hit Kenya’s national rugby team ahead of their participation at the Repechage World Cup qualifier tournament in Marseille, France from November 11 to 23.

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) requires a budget of around 500,000 U.S. dollars to cover the tour of Europe and the hosting of warm-up matches in Nairobi.

Players and technical bench bonuses and allowances are also not yet paid. KRU Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Kamau said they are seeking the money to help the team pitch camp in Romania and France.

“The money will cater for the coaches’ salaries, players’ allowances and accommodation during the Namibia and Romania build-up matches,” said Kamau on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kenya finished second to Namibia in the 2018 Rugby African Gold Cup. Namibia, who are African champions, qualified automatically for their sixth consecutive World Cup tournament in Japan in 2019.

By contrast, Kenya will now have to face Hong Kong, Canada and Germany in a round-robin tournament, with the overall winner securing the final qualification slot for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Now KRU is asking for fans to help fund the team’s preparations for what would be its first World Cup appearance, should Kenya defeat their three opponents in Marseille.

“In a bid to ensure Kenya is well prepared and ready for the Repechage competition, we ask fans to help raise funds for this cause. For as little as 1 U.S. dollar you can support the team,” said Kamau.

Head coach Ian Snook from New Zealand and his assistant Murray Roulston have already been paid.

However, the local technical bench of coach Charles Ngovi, Dominique Habimana, team manager Wangila Simiyu and physiotherapist Chris Makachia are yet to receive their salaries.

Despite the setback, Snook remains optimistic that Kenya will play in all their scheduled warm up matches.

“I am excited because I think that one of our challenges during the Gold Cup was a lack of friendly matches. The four-match build up will be the right sort of conditioning for the team ahead of the repechage tournament in France,” said the coach.

Kenya has scheduled three build up matches in Nairobi, against the British Army on October 17, Namibia on October 21, and South Africa’s Blue Bulls on October 28. Kenya are also due to play Romania on November 3 in Bucharest.

The Repechage tournament will see Kenya face Canada on November 11, before playing Hong Kong six days later and finishing off against Germany on November 23.

             

 

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