Former Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee has for the first time since his resignation spoken about the state of the rugby union. The Union has been plagued by wrangles since last year and it was only two weeks ago Safaricom parted ways with the union citing lack of transparency and an abusive relationship.
Yesterday the Union CEO Ronald Bukusi confirmed that Bamburi would not be sponsoring this year’s Super series; formerly known as the Bamburi Super Series.
Here is some background information from last year:
Muthee resigned late last year citing various reasons among them poor working relationship with a section of KRU directors. In his resignation letter, Muthee said he felt his agenda to drive the game forward was being derailed. He further said some director’s reputation was questionable thus threatening to put the game into disrepute.
His resignation came only weeks after the then Kenya Sevens Rugby team head coach Paul Treu resigned quoting the same reasons. Three directors from the union also resigned in the wake of Muthee’s departure.
Now Muthee says that he is not happy with what is going on at the union insisting they should not be losing sponsors.
“When I was resigning I wrote down the reasons that made me resign. But to be honest I am not happy to see what is happening with Kenyan rugby. I mourn with people who love rugby. We invested a lot of time and energy to develop rugby and I would like to tell them that they should not lose any more sponsors.” Muthee said.
“Sports works hand in hand with corporate companies and when they ask questions, the rugby union should give them answers. There is no sport that can succeed without corporate support and goodwill. Look at the All Blacks and the relationship they have with sponsors AIG,” he added.
Muthee, who was replaced by Richard Omwela as Chairman during last month’s KRU elections has since been appointed as one of the directors of the newly formed Sports Kenya. He will serve in the post for the next three years.
Omwela came with a promise of clearing up the mess at the union but little has been done since he took over. The former chairman says the current officials know what should be done to bring new sponsors to the table.
“What rugby needs now is many sponsors. I used to run rugby and I know they need to be signing more sponsors and not losing them. That’s a very bad omen.”
“Rugby has a lot of work to do and this crop of leaders know what should be done and they are working on matters. I wish everyone in rugby well and I wish the sport well.” Muthee added that he would like to see the sport prosper and believes it will be one of these days.
Muthee also took the chance to talk about the state of the Kenya Sevens Rugby team which has registered below par performance through this IRB season. Muthee has expressed confidence in the team even though he says the union should invest more in the national side.
“The Kenyan team has not become worse; it’s other teams that have developed and we need to pull up our socks.” He said other teams were investing million in their team’s development and that’s why retaining sponsors is important.
The national sevens side has managed to play in only one main cup quarter final in this year’s IRB season and Muthee says we should work on making rugby a fully professional sport in the country. Muthee who played for Mwamba back in the days says emerging countries like Japan and China will be a major threat to our national side if we don’t improve and invest in talent development.
Muthee was at the helm of the Union when Kenya attained ninety nine points to finish 5th in the IRB rankings with Mike Friday as Coach. Muthee also oversaw a disappointing campaign under Paul Treu the following season and he says Kenyans should support those appointed to manage the sevens team. He has warned against playing politics with the national team.
“Here in Kenya we must also stop joking around. Let’s stop playing politics with the sevens team and get down to business. Lets invest in youngsters.” He also says that on the circuit Kenya is the only team that has amateur and very few semi professional players. The entire team needs to be fully professional he says. “That is the only way we will shine amongst the best in the world.”
His parting shot was to ask Kenyans to stop playing around with professionals they hire. “We frustrated Mike Friday and then we frustrated Paul Treu.” Let’s respect the decisions made by the board and support the team through thick and thin.
Photo credit: Raga House