Kenya players strike
NEWS: Just days before the Sevens Series in Dubai commence, Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde and his troops refuse to attend training or participate in any rugby-related activities due to unpaid bonuses.
The incident has really put a spanner in the preparations as the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) were forced to postponed the naming of the National Sevens team indefinitely.
According to GameYetu a local Kenya online newspaper, a mere email from the KRU was sent to the newsrooms on November 23, stating the postponement. The single paragraph statement read: "This event has been postponed. The KRU will communicate in due course,"
Sources at KRU confided to FeverPitch that the decision was reached after unpaid bonus talks between the union and the players collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.
The drama unfolded later that day when the players failed to show up at RFUEA Grounds along Ngong Road for training. Coach Innocent Simiyu, Team Manager Erick Ogweno and the entire coaching staff reported to the Union headquarters in full regalia ready for training under the chilly morning conditions, the players were nowhere to be seen.
Meanwhile, the players would later meet secretly at a local club’s training ground in Ruaraka, Nairobi. "Omwela [Richard] sensationally told the world that the contract we signed with KRU was not binding because the board was not informed," said a player who did not wish to be named.
"We feel it was disrespectful of him especially at a time when we have sacrificed almost everything for patriotism sake? Blaming Ronald Bukusi [KRU CEO] does not help. We want the entire Sh21 million [about US$ 206,000] in lump sum or let them forget about our services," added our source.
On Tuesday, November 22, KRU Chairman Richard Omwela, while fielding questions from the media at the launch of the team’s new kit, told reporters the union was not aware that CEO Ronald Bukusi had signed contracts inclusive of a bonus scheme with the players.
"We are responsible employers and this is an internal matter. I would not go into details because any conclusions that we derive from ongoing discussions are bound to prejudice the negotiations," said Omwela.
The crisis could see Kenya being kicked out of World Rugby Sevens Circuit should the nation fail to assemble a team in time for Dubai Sevens.