The Kenya Women’s national sevens team has learned that they will not be travelling to Dubai 7s as the Union forgot to pay their participation fee.
The Kenya Rugby Union says they could not mobilize finances to fund the Kenya Lionesses.
This was revealed by chairman Richard Omwela on a TV interview with KTN on Sunday evening who said the Women’s team is not covered by the Ksh0.6b Sportpesa sponsorship in equal measure as the men’s team, Kenya Sevens do.
“They are not in equal measure, their (Sportpesa) main focus was to get into HSBC World Sevens Series which is the men’s tournament. Why they came in as part of the sponsorship for the women was to see whether we can continue to support the women but their key focus was on the men’s rugby,”
In 2016, KRU and Sportpesa signed a Ksh607 million deal that saw Sportpesa become the headline sponsor of the rugby union. All national teams bear Sportpesa name on their shirts during training, travelling and playing.
“Sponsorship particularly targets the men’s team, let’s not run away from that responsibility,” Omwela told KTN.
The Lionesses were to use the invitational tournament as a build-up to next year’s Commonwealth Sevens where they will be the lowest ranked nation. Other nations include Rio Gold winners Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Fiji, England, South Africa and Wales.
And when asked whose responsibility is it to ensure the Lionesses go to Dubai Omwela said:
“I can say partly the government, why is the government funding Nyayo Stadium, Kasarani stadium and other stadia and not a rugby stadium?”
“I can confirm that we are not able to support the women to go this time round but we are looking at taking them to Hong Kong where we are able to mobilize the finances for them to be able to participate.”
Before the Commonwealth games, most of the teams taking part will have taken part in Dubai and Sydney 7s in January 2018.
On the issue of not informing the Lionesses in time about the cancellation of Dubai 7s, Omwela said:
“It may have been a communication issue as I said this tournament is an invitation tournament as soon as the information comes in we look at resources to see are we able to get the team to Dubai or not? If there was a miscommunication then that is something our team has to look at to why wasn’t it communicated in time.”
The Lionesses took part in the Rio Olympics in 2016 finishing 11th.