Kenya on brink of rugby tournament withdrawals

The Kenya Sevens team are on the brink of withdrawing from the Sevens World Cup in July. Martin Seras Lima

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has threatened to pull their teams out of the 2018 Africa Gold Cup and the Sevens World Cup because of a financial shortfall.

In a communication released by KRU on Tuesday evening, they stated that they could pull out because most of their operations have come to a halt because of lack of money.

"The Kenya Rugby Union wishes to clarify that it has only received Kenya Shillings 31million out of a budget of Kenya Shillings 124 million that was presented to and accepted by the Ministry of Sport after our headline partner pulled out," the statement read.

Kenya Shillings 124 million is an equivalent of US$1,226,316, while Kenya Shillings 31 million is equivalent to US$306, 575.

The Union alleged that they have used the Ksh 31 million paid in February to support the national squads in various assignments to date, but had not received the balance.

"Several meetings between the Ministry and the Union have since taken place, the latest one on May 29 where assurances that part payment of the balance would be made to the KRU by June 5," added the statement.

"No further payment has been received to date despite assurances to the contrary. Operations of the K.R.U have ground to a halt at a time when our two national squads, Simba and Shujaa are preparing for critical assignments in the coming days."

The Simbas are set to begin their Africa Gold Cup and Rugby World Cup qualification process with a match away to Morocco on June 23, and will have four other fixtures and training programs between now and August.

Shujaa, the Sevens team, are also preparing for the Sevens Rugby World Cup tournament in San Francisco in July, a tournament where they have reached the semifinals twice in a row (2009 and 2013).

"In the absence of Government support, the Union is considering pulling all its representative squads out of international assignments," stated the communication.

Kenya are the best-ranked rugby team in East and Central Africa. Their 7s side are slated to face Tonga on July 20th in the first match at the Sevens World Cup.