Kenya chaos threaten World Series participation
NEWS: Kenya’s participation in the next few legs of the Sevens World Series is in doubt over a player strike.
The mass-circulation Daily Nation newspaper reported that 16 senior players are boycotting training in protest over reduced salaries.
The Kenyan team is scheduled to depart on January 19 for the next two legs of the 2018/2019 World Series – in New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand city of Hamilton will host the next leg of the Series from January 26 to 27, before teams head to Sydney in Australia from February 2 to 3.
Kenya Sevens coach Paul Murunga threatened that the striking players could be axed, due to “fitness concerns”.
Sources within the team disclosed that the senior players, who used to earn between Sh170,000 (US$1,667) and Sh145,000 (US$1,422) last season, want the union to uphold the same structure for the 2018/2018 season.
Kenya Rugby Union, which is experiencing a financial crisis, has adopted a lower salary structure where senior players are now supposed to earn Sh100,000 (US$981) and below.
KRU’s acting CEO Sylvia Kamau declined to comment on the players’ strike, telling the newspaper it would jeopardise ongoing negotiations.
Kamau, who declined to disclose details of the new salary structure, said should negotiations stall, the federation would make do with a new crop of players.
“We will have no option but to select new players, since we don’t have sponsors to sustain big salaries,” Kamau said.
Former Kenya Sevens skipper Andrew Amonde, William Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Nelson Oyoo and Collins Injera – who were with Kenya Simbas in their failed 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign in France – have not reported to training.
Kenya Sevens skipper Eden Agero, Dennis Ombachi and Jeff Oluoch, who were part of the Dubai and Cape Town campaigns, have also not trained with the team since then.
Billy Odhiambo trained with the team briefly, but later opted to stay out altogether – alongside former Kenya Sevens skipper Oscar Ayodi, who was nursing an injury, and Oscar Ouma.
Also out of training is Augustine Lugonzo, Brian Tanga, Dan Sikuta and Leonard Mugaisi – who all featured in Dubai and Cape Town.
Source: Daily Nation