Contrite Omwela reflects on ‘Paris fiasco’


(FILE)Richard Omwela during a past press briefing. (PHOTO/COURTESY)
(FILE)Richard Omwela during a past press briefing. (PHOTO/COURTESY)

In Summary

  • The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chairman Richard Omwela has issued an apology to fans of the local sport following the protracted Paris Sevens debacle
  • Omwela also assured he was clean as he drew attention on claims of corruption that were directed at KRU and its management during a month-long scrutiny of the national body

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chairman Richard Omwela has issued an apology to fans of the local sport following the protracted Paris Sevens debacle.

Omwela also assured he was clean as he drew attention on claims of corruption that were directed at KRU and its management during a month-long scrutiny of the national body.

“Ofcourse I want to apologise to Kenyans for what has transpired in the past few months but it’s always an open door policy for me and we must correct the arising issues and going forward.

“Critics are already out there spreading rumours since people only want to hear one side of the story but the fact remains that all players are employees of the KRU and we pay them to play.

“But for the coach to come and say that we should not hold players accountable its wrong, so the whole world should not condemn KRU for all this,” Omwela told Citizen Digital in an exclusive interview.

Omwela was referring to the incident where the national sevens team head coach Innocent Simiyu stormed a tribunal hearing to defend his players from criticism after they blocked the Brand Kenya sponsorship logo from their jersey.

Facing a a disciplinary hearing, Simiyu then took responsibility for the act as he took a bullet for the team with his selfless act ultimately costing him his position as Shujaa boss.

As a result of the negative attention the whole scenario drew, World Rugby sent their official Steph Nel to Kenya to oversee the current issues ahead of the Rugby Sevens World Cup later July.

“Yes World Rugby were concerned since we are a key team in the upcoming sevens world cup and Nel has been here for a week but we have explained to him everything and he is optimistic all this will be solved sooner than expected,” Omwela added.

Omwela also took the opportunity to thank the government on topping up the 21 million needed to clear the outstanding arrears for all the rugby national teams and amking it possible for the sevens national team travel for the sevens World Cup.

“I am happy to report and confirm that we have received 21 million from the government and we have taken the chance to clear all the arrears for the Sevens fifteens and womens teams upto the month of June,however we still need more to cater for the coming weeks and months,” the soft spoken city lawyer added.

Omwela was also dissapointed with the now famous Paris Brand Kenya debacle that led to Simiyu’s sudden replacement and reinstatement as coach.

“Its rather unfortunate and regrettable that the players decided to boycott under brand Kenya however we have apologised to Brand Kenya in writing and a press conference and hopefully its business as usual again for us,” Omwela.

Despite the negativity Omwela remained confident and optimistic that there was light at the end of the tunnel for KRU and its stakeholders.

“Obviuosly its not a good thing to strap off a sponsors name who has sacrificed everything for the team and depsite Simiyu decision to take the bullet for the team we have forgiven them and we want the best for the team and we will give them the comfort and confidence needed ahead of the busy schedule,” he said.

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Story By Benson Mbare
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