Monday, March 31, 2008
The Rhinos on the other hand completely dominated the Cheetahs in the forwards and set up a platform for a blistering 39-13 victory. The Rhinos forwards toyed with the Cheetahs the whole afternoon and practically scored at will. The Rhinos backline, in which I had little faith in, also seemed to click, stringing long passes together to score quite a few tries at the corner. With the Rhinos kickers totally off form, some converted tries would have seen the scores escalate even more. The Cheetahs on the other hand seemed shell shocked at the treatment they were receiving and failed to recover completely. The backline kept trying one move that was not working and the forwards just seemed to want the game to end... even before half time! That everything had broken down was evident that they seemed more dangerous from broken down play and kicked balls other than from anything structured or planned.
The undercard to the two matches was the 5th/6th playoff between the Buffaloes and the Twigas. I finally called one spot on, Buffaloes 45 Twigas 25. Both teams seemed to find some rhythm in attack without focusing too much on defense, a typical playoff match. With nothing at stake both teams were just out to enjoy themselves.
>>Word has it there is trouble brewing in the National Sevens team despite their recent successes. I will investigate more and break the news here!!>>
The pooling in Adelaide gives us another chance to put things right as we are pooled alongside Fiji, England and France. The pool looks tough, but I think we now have it in us to even top the pool after day 1.
Keep it here for regular updates.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Strange however is that Kenya should have finished among the top four qualifiers and hence not have drawn Fiji in the match. There may be some appeals going on as I write this so let us wait and see.
Now we wait for the Quarter final pairing that will only be known after the last match.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Twigas vs. Buffaloes. It is a bit saddening to note that a very strong representative side from Tanzania is not able to compete in this competition. That the Twigas have been whipping boys will surely embolden the Buffaloes to put up a fine display of running and hard contact rugby. The Buffaloes love to put big runners through the centres and that is what they will base their game on, crash moves through the centres. The lower calibre of the Twigas will allow them to work a bit more on their patterns of play and this could be the game they needed to get their act together. It is a pity it is just a game to avoid last place. For the Twigas it may be another opportunity for them to work on their defensive play. Their lack of training together will once again impact on their ability to string together moves or to keep up a sustained attack. My call, the Buffaloes by 20 and I expect the Twigas to score their first points, hopefully even a try.
Lions vs. Sharks. This will surely be the match of the day. The Sharks are on a high, having posted a good score against the Buffaloes last weekend. I do not think they have any injury worries and once more will have a solid fifteen men to start the match and an even more solid seven on the bench. The Lions had a rest day last weekend and "may" be very fresh for this game. They must have watched the Sharks very critically but from their display last weekend, there is very little that they did wrong. The Lions will as usual rely on their forwards to set up platforms by repeatedly hitting it close before spinning it wide for their fleet footed wingers. The Sharks on the other hand will keep the ball alive and move it around as much as possible as they try to exploit the gaps that should appear. I will give this to the Sharks by 7.
Rhinos vs. Cheetahs. This is one game the Cheetahs must be really looking forward to. The Rhinos team that played the last match a fortnight ago is missing no less than seven of the starting team who are with the National Sevens side in Hong Kong. The entire backline is different with the only survivors being Victor Sudi and Allan Makaka. The centre pairing of Tito Oduk and Sidney Nderitu have not played this series at all and will be jumping straight into the fire. The Cheetahs backline led by Neto Simiyu and supported by Paul Sadat should have a field day against them. However, the Rhinos pack is quite formidable and virtually intact and I expect they will try to keep the play here, only going wide if absolutely necessary. I expect the Rhinos will also apply excess pressure on the forwards and try to keep the play there. My call, Cheetahs by 3. The game may not be very high scoring.
Kenya play Portugal at 8.04 EAT and Scotland at 12.28 EAT tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The first is not to lose a single match against any team which is not a core Sevens Series side for the rest of the season. The second is to gain at least one victory against half of the top Sevens sides in the world in the second half of the season, and the third is to proceed unbeaten from their pool this weekend, where they face Scotland, Portugal and China.
So far Benjamin Ayimba's side is on for a best ever return this season. They currently lie in sixth place in the series standings, above England, Scotland, Australia and Wales, and have reached three Cup quarter finals and one semi final in San Diego.
At least two of their targets, however, could come under severe pressure in Hong Kong. China are not expected to provide too stern a test in their pool but the Kenyans do face them early in the tricky one-off fixture on day one. Portugal's abrasive style is far more likely to unsettle them on day two, while Scotland have also been consistent this season in reaching every Cup quarter final.
"In Hong Kong the big challenge is to win the first match against China. It does not matter who you meet at this level and a good start will set the mood for the next three days,” said former captain, Team Manager Oscar Osir.
Kenya's improving form has coincided with the union's creation of a semi-professional Sevens set-up, funded by the sponsorship of Virgin Atlantic.
“We have been polishing up and planning on game execution," said squad regular Innocent Simiyu. "This is a bunch of good and experienced players who are committed to the cause.”
Besides exciting young debutant George Mbaye, Ayimba's squad looks experienced and is boosted by the inclusion of playmaker and goal-kicker Lavin Asego, who returns from injury. Utility back Brian Nyikuli also comes into the side to replace Edwin Shimenga, who is travelling to Canada this week for club trials.
“Lavin will inject some freshness in the team and we have a good chance of picking up more points because the players are quite experienced," said team captain Humphrey Kayange.
"There is no doubt we will aim to finish top of the pool after two days which means beating China, Portugal and Scotland,” he said.
New Zealand currently lie top of the standings with a maximum 80 points from 80 after the first four events in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand and USA.
Article from www.irbsevens.com.
For a start, based on the clutter above, it is not possible to tell who gave more money, or money for what precisely, yet to the casual observer, they are all getting the same exposure. Perhaps the more money gives, the more "other" exposure one gets. For instance, the grounds are heavily branded in Bamburi colours and the Bamburi logo is very prominent in most of the perimeter branding. Question here now is "are they drowning other sponsors by their dominance?" Is the branding proportionate to money put in? Are all the sponsors happy with the returns?
Here lies the big question. When a sponsor puts in money, what does he look for? The marketing books will give a lot of jargon about brand awareness, brand association, visual presence, increased consumer awareness, and all manner of hype. In the marketing classroom, all good. In the school of life, it is totally different. The amount of money most companies put into (African) sport is ridiculously low. Most companies pay this money from their social programmes budget or call them contributions to charity. For instance, the amount of money some of the "sponsors" above have put into the event would not even pay for a 60 second advertisement on TV at prime time. However, getting that amount of money from them for a continuous five week exposure to a targeted market, which would still extend to their initial target does not seem to impress them. They will turn round and ask for guarantees of an audience in terms of crowd attendance, but the event organiser will also need the money to organise a special event and attract that large crowd the sponsor demands. Chicken and egg if you ask me, and I won't even talk about "Corporate Social Responsibility" here!
In conclusion I will contrast the two big spenders on Rugby in Kenya. I will limit this to local sponsors of local events. The two biggest local rugby events are the Bamburi Rugby Super Series and the Tusker Safari Sevens. Bamburi are not in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) business. It is not therefore clear to see what their direct returns for the sponsorship of their event is. Most companies will expect to see a rise in sales or some direct impact of their association with such a major event. I therefore tend to think they sponsor the event for all the "text book" marketing reasons I mentioned above. Tusker, on the other hand are in the FMCG business. From my observations, Tusker (or EABL) for that matter will not sponsor any event where they do not stand to reap the returns of their direct involvement. It is no secret that the beer sold during the Safari Sevens by far outweighs whatever money they put into the event. And whereas there is no way their product can be associated positively with any sporting event, it can easily be associated with the goings-on around the events which in turn usually interfere with the interests of other sponsors.
Personally, I believe sport is one major industry that both the government and corporates overlook. The other industries associated with sport are numerous, ranging from textile to printing to security and entertainment. Sport being a "preserve" of the youth, it is one way to keep the youth gainfully occupied. The supporting industries would employ other youth not able to actively participate in sport. And with well structured youth and development structures, what would stop sport from being a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The Sharks and the Buffaloes in Nairobi was a real thriller. The score of 35-3 to the Sharks is certainly not a pointer to the quality of the game or the competitiveness of the match. In fact with 20 minutes into the match, my money as on the Buffaloes. They dominated the first half with powerful and decisive runs, frequently breaking the Sharks defense line. Poor support play and decisions from the half back paring let them down and they were not able to capitalise on this dominance. They also came to rue their own decisions not to kick for goal some relatively easy penalties that came their way, opting instead to go for the five points that proved elusive to the end. Half time score for this game was 7-0, a pointer to the competitiveness of the game. For the sharks, resilience and a strong bench were the winning factors. Buffaloes were forced to make two injury substitutions in the first half. From that time on, all they were doing was patching up the team. As for Sharks, they were not forced into any substitutions. They had a very strong bench and any changes they made were value changes. This came to tell in the 20th minute of the second half. With the Buffaloes sails seeming to completely run out of wind, the Sharks came out firing after making several strong changes. 3 quick tries, all converted, in a 12 minute spell made all the difference. With time up and the last play called by the referee, the Buffaloes were forced to kick a penalty at the posts to avoid the duck that they now held.
My assessment of the two sides. The Sharks, as expected, are a youthful side, full of energy and ideas. The fact that they are basically all peers removes the pressure associated with performance anxiety from their shoulders. The other fact that they are a new franchise means they have no baggage in terms of history. They are writing their own history, day by day and hence choosing how to do this. This makes them by far the most exciting franchise. The are playing a free flowing, running rugby. To some it may look unstructured, but they enjoy running the ball and are doing this at every opportunity. For the Buffaloes, it is strange, but they just do not seem to be physically fit enough. This was their Achilles heel in this match and a lack of planning in terms of "then what?", after the initial break was made. But they are a fantastic side and the fact that they are made up mainly of players from Nakuru RFC, means they will be a force to reckon with come the league.
I cannot let this one go. Once more, two back row players playing in the centres, a complete disaster. One from each side, at some point I could not tell whether they were still in the centres or back in the forwards. When Wilson K'Opondo of the Sharks went back to his traditional back row position, more order came out of the team and hence the result.
NB: As I am new in this writing field, I am not using too many names in my writing as I familiarise myself with the players. I believe by next weekend I will be able to look at individual players more critically.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Lions opened the scoring with a penalty to take the score to 3-nil. The Cheetahs then took up the mantle with 3 penalties to take the score to 3-9 in their favor. Just before half time, Lions scored a try to take the teams to the changing room at 8-9. The second half was to keep fans on their feet throughout. An early Cheetahs penalty put the score at 8-12, but Lions quickly replied with a converted try for a 15-12 lead. With nobody really knowing how much time was on the clock, The Cheetahs scored what seemed to be the winning try to put the score at 15-17. With all breaths held, the Lions converted a penalty to take the lead once more at 18-17. When everybody thought time was now surely up, the Cheetahs won a penalty that they could have kicked to win the game, but opted to try and run it instead. They lost possession to the Lions who immediately kicked the ball into touch to end the game.
In my pre-match post, I had posited that should the Lions add some brain to their brawn, they would surely run away with this one. Well, with the scores at 15-12 in their favor, for some strange reason they thought they had this wrapped up. What followed was 4 to 8 minutes of mindless pounding away at one spot. They eventual lost crucial possession that gave the Cheetahs the opportunity to take the lead in the dying minutes. The Cheetah's lack of brain in opting to run the last kickable penalty is what cost them the game.
I think both teams played a well planned a structured game. I will however always question the rationale of playing primarily back row players in the backline. The opponents of these players also never seem to want to give them a hard enough time to make them stay in the pack. The Lions had two such players and in the second half the Cheetah's introduced one. Other than hard running, I am yet to see them display any skill whatsoever to make someone think they can be called centers. Call me a purist, but I think Kenya is the only place in the world that this happens. Perhaps we are getting ahead of the world and producing generic rugby players, able to play in any position. My take is that we are rapidly becoming less skilled and hence not appreciating the unique skills required for each position.
After only two weekends of action, the semi final pairings are as good as set. The Rhinos definitely top their pool and await the winner of the Cheetahs and Twigas match. The Lions also definitely top their pool and await the winner of the Sharks and Buffaloes match. During the 2005 and 2006 Super Series events, until the last group games, any of the four teams could have been in the final. I feel this is where the competitiveness of the event should be, not being over till it's over.
Have a good week.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The indomitable franchise of the Rhinos had their gods to thank for sneaking away 5-3 against the Sharks. An error filled game saw the win go to the luckier team. The Sharks missed at least 4 kickable penalties in then last half hour that could have handed them the game.
The star-studded Rhinos completely failed to settle the entire game. In an attempt to match the more youthful Sharks side, they played a completely unstructured game, attempting to run the ball from within their own try area, and using a lot of kick-and-chase tactics. Add to this the fact that their line-out completely failed to click, they were under pressure in all ways. The fast paced game they employed also seemed to disenfranchise the forwards who now used the resultant set pieces as time to rest, allowing the inexperienced Sharks forwards to hold their own against what can be called the National Scrum. For the Sharks, they were in it 100%. Resolute defense and hard tackling forced the Rhinos to seek easy ways out that only gave possession to the Sharks. And when they spread the ball out wide on attack, the Rhinos were always struggling to contain them, resulting in the numerous penalties the Rhinos gave away. The quick recycling of the ball by the Sharks also caught out the Rhinos on several occasions with one or two forwards left to defend against three or four fast running backs, who were let down by poor handling in the end. All in all, the Sharks came out with more from this game and their next opponents, the Buffaloes will have their work cut out for them.
The Cheetahs vs. Lions game ended 18-17 to the Lions. I will write about this in my next post.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The Nguvu Sharks, pet project of the title sponsor, are a completely unknown entity. This is their first time to play as the Sharks. For their coach, Mitch Ocholla, it is also his first time in the big leagues. Despite having successfully coached Strathmore to the Eric Shirley Championships last year, as well as being the coach for the National Under 19 side, it is his first time to coach what can be called a "senior" side. The team however is bursting with youth and even more so, talent. In the Sharks squad are at least 10 present or past national team call ups. However, their ability to play together will be the true test. Add to this that they will be playing the defending champions, the Rhinos, it is going to be an uphill task. Their youth and vigor will be their asset and , their unpredictability their secret weapon. For the Rhinos however, this being their second match should mean they have overcome their initial jitters as well as their gelling issues. Having caught a glimpse of last weekend's match, the Rhinos play a relatively structured game however they have lapses in implementation of their game plan. They also do not defend aggressively at all and gives an opportunity for their opponents to keep them on the back foot, even when they could squirm out of it. Should the Sharks manage to continuously mount pressure by quickly recycling the ball, they could have the Rhinos number. My call, Rhinos by 12 points.
The Cheetahs won the event in 2004 and 2006. Both final games were against the Lions who are their opponents for this Saturday. The Cheetahs have always been able to win the game on a tactical level. The Lions tend to be more physical and aggressive, relying on overpowering the opposition at the breakdown and keeping on hitting it up close till it gives. The Cheetahs however favor a more running game, with slick backline moves setting free their wingers and full backs. They are also able to penetrate through the centers. This gives for a thrilling brawn vs. brain contest. The difference with the Lions this year is they have changed coaches. Bill Githinji, a former Impala coach and Cheetahs tactician is now in charge and this may herald a change of tactic for the Lions. If they add a bit more brain to their brawn, the contest will be extremely lop-sided. My confidence in Githinji's abilities sees me give this one to the Lions by 12 as well.
On my part, this time I will watch both games and critique them.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
But I digress as usual. With a well structured secretariat, KRFU have two options. One, obtain the footage from NTV then make copies for sale (digitise them for easier storage, copying, etc.) Two, hire a private cameraman to record the game and avail the footage immediately thereafter. This is possibly a revenue stream the KRFU have not thought about. All team coaches would buy the footage, players would buy the footage, rugby buffs would buy the footage, journalists would buy the footage, and people like me would buy the footage. If KRFU have a media strategy then this is sorely missing from it.
FOOTNOTE: BRSS MEDIA DIRECTOR RESIGNS. After hearing the rantings of one Samuel Kivuitu, this is a first in Kenya. The reasons for the resignation are not known and I will not speculate just yet, but if I find out more I will let you know.
Monday, March 10, 2008
My thoughts on this is that I thought there was a criteria used to determine the initial pooling. This criteria was to take into account the relative strengths of the team. The tournament manual, which I have not seen, should set the period for the review of pooling of the teams and the criteria to be used. If teams have worked individually and improved their players, are they to blame for being in the same pool? Perhaps the time has come to completely de-link the Super Series from the Clubs. How would this be done?
Create the franchises as completely autonomous bodies. Let the bodies be permanent in their existence and administrative structures. For the first year, put all eligible players in a single pool and let the franchises pick their players, one at a time position wise. This will completely de-link the franchises from any club structure. In subsequent years, put all new eligible players in the pool again and let the franchises select them once more, in order of ranking based on last season's results, call this a drafting process. This once again ensures that players have not club or individual affiliations. It would then be up to the franchises to build their player capacity moving forward and there will be no issue of "too strong" clubs being lumped together.
I thought I would be able to give an analysis of the Rhinos vs. Buffaloes game, but unfortunately I was not able to observe the match. I am looking for the match recording then maybe I can make my comments after that.
More to come.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Head Coach Michael "Tank" Otieno has released a provisional squad to train for the National Team in preparation for the upcoming Elgon Cup tie against Uganda on May 24th. With these players already having one foot in the door, they will be the players to watch during this years Bamburi Rugby Super Series.
The Squad is as below.
Props: Daniel Kiptoo, Joel Ng’ang’a, Kennedy Gikaru (Quins), Frank Ndong, Chris Macharia (Impala); Hookers: Vincent Ong’era (Quins), Edwin Alubaka (KCB); Locks: Lewis Olaka (Quins), Paul Oketch (Mwamba), Paul Murunga (KCB), Newman Opiyo (Nakuru), Anthony Ogot (KCB); Flankers: Andrew Amonde (KCB), Wilson K’Opondo (Mean Machine), Tony Shihemi (Impala), Tony Mutai (Quins); 8th men: George Mbae (Mwamba), Leslie Libasia (Quins), Paul Oimbo (Impala); Scrum-halves: David Gitau (Quins), Peter Mutai (KCB), Steve Sewe (Mwamba); Fly-halves: Lavin Asego (Mwamba), Jotham Yahuma (KCB), Kevin Gachoka (Mean Machine); Centres: Biko Adema (Nondies), Humphrey Kayange (Mwamba), Allan Onyango (Quins), Paul Sadat (Impala); Wingers: Collins Injera (Mwamba), Victor Sudi, Leon Adongo (Quins); Full-backs: Innocent Simiyu, Nato Simiyu (Impala), Vincent Mose (Nakuru).
Officials: Michael Otieno (head coach), Edward Kinyany, Charles Ngovi (assistant coaches), Wangila Simiyu (team manager), Christopher Makachia (physiotherapist).
Friday, March 7, 2008
The other game will be another kettle of fish altogether. The Rhinos team sounds like the Kenya National team whereas the buffaloes are largely unknown. What with a team sporting the likes of Daniel Kiptoo, Richard Nyakwaka, George Mbaye, Lavin Asego, Ian Simiyu, Victor Sudi, Humphrey Khayange, Collins Injera and so on. Buffaloes also have Edwin Shimenga, Gibson Weru, Cyprian Shimenga, Simon Wariuki and several other experienced players who will take this as an opportunity to prove their mettle. Despite not having trained that well due to the post election skirmishes that took place in Nakuru, they now have hard man Pascal Wetukha joining Jotham Owili on the technical bench and so will leave nothing to chance. Owili is known to be very good at analysing opponents and identifying their weaknesses and this will be Rhinos' Achilles heel, overconfidence. I give this one to Rhinos by 10 points all the same.
I will post the complete team lists once they are announced. I will also give a game analysis of the Rhinos vs. Buffaloes game. The Sharks and the Cheetahs have a rest day tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The initial idea of the Super Series was to have sides of equal strength participating in the event. This "expansion" has seen some sort of skewing occur. The Sharks team is a team comprising primarily of university/college sides in Nairobi and its environs. It will therefore comprise Mean Machine, Blak Blad, USIU,Strathmore, Daystar, JKUAT and possibly one or two other campuses. Whilst the idea is noble, it has pulled players away from other franchises. Lions now comprises mainly of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Mombasa. Cheetahs comprises mainly Impala and Nodescripts, Buffaloes comprises mainly Nakuru, Kisumu and universities in the Western region of the country and Rhinos comprises Harlequins and Mwamba. Whilst all seems equal on paper, the Lions team will realistically comprise mainly KCB players. Whilst Impala and Nondies are quite strong teams on any day, the two teams have not shown any sort of form in the past three seasons and whilst the Buffaloes had a good outing last year, they will also realstically be formed mainly by Nakuru players. The only true representative side will therefore be the defending champions, the Rhinos. Both Quins and Mwamba had a very strong season last year, winning the Super Series and coming second and fourth in the league respectively. Both teams were in the final of the season opening Impala floodlit tournament and what a spectacle that match was. Whoever the coach of this franchise must be having a nightmare selecting his side. Perhaps the apparent "weakening" of some sides will force them to look for new talent and that is one aim of the tournament, discover new talent. That said and done, it will still be a tournament to behold.
Other than being the organisers of the event, I will here like to asses what role the Union has played in the expansion of the series. The initial series was sponsored by Unga Limited, under their flagship brand Jogoo in 2003. It was a great tournament and due to its novelty as the first tournament, it was an immediate success. The second tournament was sponsored by UAP Insurance. This turned out to be a low key event and it looked like the event was struggling to remain alive in only its second year. The third year saw Bamburi come in and new life was added to the event. All teams were sponsored and beautifully kitted out. The tournament was a huge success and the sponsor immensely pleased. This emboldened them to undertake the sponsorship in the year after that, 2007 and now 2008. This has seen Bamburi increase its sponsorship progresively from Ksh. 2.5M to 4.5M to 7M and now 9M. It can thus be said that Bamburi has been fundamental to the growth of the tournement. The idea of going regional was brought up by KRFU and Bamburi bought into it whole-heartedly, hence their increasing sponsorship year after year. However, a tournament of this magnitude cannot depend on one sponsor. Also given the fact that Bamburi are not into FMCGs, there is no direct corelation between their sponsorship and the returns they hope to make based on this. In 2005, Bamburi played a major role in roping in other sponsors. They have played the same role ever since, time and time again bailing out KRFU by getting other sponsors for the event. This year is no different given the amount of money they have put in, they have done their best and are still responsible for convincing some other companies to come in as franchise sponsors and associate sponsors. Due credit to KRFU, they have also now refused to sell the tournament cheaply and that has possibly kept out several sponsors, but that is the way to go. The tournament is actually supposed to raise enough money for the union to run the National 15-a-side team as well as carry out development work at grassroots level. But I digress. This year will see Bamburi sponsor 80% of the franchises with one product or other of theirs due to the absence other franchise sponsors. The franchises will thus be as follows; Nguvu Sharks, Power
Plus Rhinos, Supaset Buffaloes and Multipurpose Lions. The others will be the SDV Transami Cheetahs and the Twigas will remain as is. With such a large tournament taking part in such a large part of the region, it should not be that big a task to sell the event. Word actually has it that the Ugandan teams withdrew citing lack of funds. This all adds to my previous posts on the role of the directors in the KRFU. I shudder to imagine what would happen to the tournament were Bamburi to pull out today!
Next post - also on the Bamburi Rugby Super Series.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Richard Omwela is a senior partner at law firm Hamilton Harrison and Matthews. He has no known rugby pedigree but appears to be an astute administrator and a politician to some extent. He holds the infamy of being the first person to turn down an appointment from President Mwai Kibaki (a trend to be followed two years later after the 2005 referendum on the Kenya Constitution). Omwela sits on the boards of several large corporations and it would be expected that he would be able to swing support from some of these to the Union. Not to be so. To date the union still struggles to get sponsorship and a case in point is the upcoming Bamburi Rugby Super Series, the subject of my next post. Omwela (the politician) also does not like rocking boats, and will ride the tide of the majority, even putting personal affiliations and his better judgment aside. Does the future of Kenya Rugby really need him?
Willy Ombisi was a former Impala player and is still heavily involved in the administration of this club. He has served on the Board for one year as a director. His exact brief in the Union is not clear, but he has managed to be non-controversial in that one year. His major failing is his rabid loyalty to his club and his belief that his club forms the benchmark for rugby administration in the country. Before joining the board, he was actively pushing for improvement of governance and accountability structures for the Union and was keen on seeing a draft strategic plan for Kenya Rugby implemented. This has not happened to date. To the best of my knowledge, the union does not have any mission, vision or values as would be expected of any modern organisation. To the best of my knowledge, the union also has no strategic plan, the last one having expired in 2005! His next one year would be a chance for him to do all this for the good of Rugby in Kenya.
Innocent Moturi apparently joined the board for lack of anyone else. The lack of impetus and lethargy in the union has led to a situation where there seems to be apathy towards being a part of the union. During last year's AGM several directors had to retire by virtue of having completed their mandatory terms. Apathy from the clubs resulted in poor nominations for the elections and there we had Moturi. His brief has been fixtures and he seems to have struggled even on that. Several conflicts usually appear in the fixtures and several changes also occur during the course of the season. Most of this could be ironed out with a bit more consultation.
Gordon Anampiu has been deeply involved in rugby as a player, coach and is now an administrator. One would expect that by virtue of his vast experience, he would be the best poised person to sort out issues of player and team welfare in the whole setup. Anampiu has instead proved to be a true conformist, also not willing to rock any boats. While appearing to be pushing for various issues from without, the same cannot be said from inside and the status quo largely remains.
Shaka Kwach also had a distinguished career as a player and in a leading role as a captain of a national side. I am not aware of any experience he has had in club administration, but he is a senior executive at Safaricom Kenya Ltd. My concern is the issue that hits other potential directors, time. Will he have the time to live up to his obligations as a director? I am sure at the back of the minds of the KRFU board is that he may be able to finally get his employer to support rugby in a big way. I am yet to see any director of the union risk his employment on such an assignment.
Branko Ng'inja also lead a long and chequered career in the national teams in both codes. He has also been greatly involved in the management and running of Nondescripts RFC. Having personally interacted with him and knowing his views on rugby and rugby administration, I believe he would be one committed member to the board. As a senior executive manager in Excel Logistics, an affiliate of DHL Worldwide Express, he has got vast human resource experience as well and this would be an asset to the organisation as a whole. His one drawback once more would be his time. His job involves a lot of traveling and that would put in jeopardy his availability for the task at hand. I just hope he finds the time to commit himself to this job.