The Kenya Rugby Union is set to call its Annual General Meeting soon and the Kenya Rugby Clubs Caucus comprising Kenya Cup and Nationwide Clubs, have presented their candidates for the KRU 2016 elections and presented their agenda for game development.
The rugby fraternity has on several occasions expressed concerns that the current office seems incapable of collectively sitting down and making decisions to advance the game. The clubs have decided to take matters into their own hands. They are fronting people, nominated by Kenya Cup and Nationwide Club teams to stand in the upcoming elections on 16th March. The nominees are experienced, having been involved in the game, as players and as club administrators.
Thomas Opiyo has been nominated for the position of Vice Chairman of KRU. Thomas is the current chairman for Nondescripts RUFC and a former 7s and 15s test player.
Oduor Gangla has been nominated for the position of Honorary Secretary. Oduor is the current chairman of Resolution Impala Saracens.
Joshua Aroni has been nominated for the position of Honorary Treasurer. Aroni has been involved with Nationwide rugby in Mombasa and has a background in finance.
John Kilonzo has been nominated for the position of Director. He is currently a director at Masaku RFC.
Members of the current KRU board who are currently up for re-election include Philip Jalango the Vice Chairman, Dennis Ombui acting secretary and Moses Ndale director for fixtures and competitions.
As the game expands, need for financing is critical and yet sponsors have lost confidence in the game and its governance. The caucus promises to aggressively explore different potential avenues for sponsorship and revamp rugby as a product that current and potential sponsors want to be associated with. The caucus would like to revamp the financial systems at the Union and help clubs to begin to look at channels for revenue generation as well. The caucus wants clubs to tap into county government funds that are geared towards sports as well as private sponsorship in the counties.
The caucus pledges to pay special attention to structures and processes at the club level. By facilitating setting up of proper financial process and operational processes at club level the caucus aims to strengthen not only clubs, but leagues, which will result in an increase of world class players being elevated to the national teams and accountability of clubs to their members. Once the foundation is solid, the Union will be left with the easy task of simply implementing what the clubs have already put in the place.
Production and implementation of a strategic plan for Kenyan rugby will be a priority item for the caucus. The last strategic plan expired in 2014. Affiliate clubs will be consulted in drafting of the plan to ensure the entire rugby fraternity is working towards a common vision for the game.
On Union governance, the caucus are adamant that they will be intentional about giving the secretariat space to do their work. Board members, they say, will only set policy direction and leave implementation to the able secretariat.
The caucus is eager to reform the Kenya rugby constitution to align with the national sports act. The constitution, they say has to reflect the games moving to a more professional setup. Alignment with the act will also see gender parity in the game.
The caucus will prioritise development of players, technical benches and referees. In order for the revamp of the game to be felt, it must involve all parties involved and not just the players.
While KRU communications have been lauded as the best in African rugby, there is a lot left to do. The caucus pledges to improve communication between players and the Union particularly with university and nationwide sides. The caucus intends to make Kenya rugby online presence more vibrant and use this as a marketing platform to increase awareness about the game. The caucus is also encouraging clubs to invest in online presences to showcase themselves and attract local sponsorship.
The caucus pledges to finally and conclusively tackle the perennial issue of player welfare, particularly player insurance and job creation. They pledge long term solutions to ensure that players are adequately covered for injuries. The caucus also wants to tighten the rugby network and create benefits to playing rugby. Ultimately, rugby will give players easier entry to the job market.
The caucus is confident that come the elections next week. The affiliates, who hold the power to make a real change will vote to allow the nominees to give Kenyan rugby a much needed overhaul.
I am rooting for this team. I have had the privilege of working with some of them in rugby administration in the past and we got quite a bit done. So I feel certain that they are up to the job. The plan is good. In fact, it’s excellent, but it’s not going to be easy to implement. They will have to hit the ground running and be on point in every aspect. Communication will be key to allow players to feel involved and allow sponsors to keep abreast of the goings on. A sense of trust and transparency has to be nurtured and will only be achieved over time.
This strategic move by the local clubs has been a long time in the making. The Kenyan sports fraternity will be watching. I hope that this is the push that rugby needs to finally get us back on track to concentrating on what matters – the game of rugby.