The battle to find out who will replace Richard Omwela is about to end as the decision is set to be made on Wednesday 20th March.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) will have its Annual General Meeting where they will also hold their elections. The elections have been heavily anticipated as people tried to predict who will be the next KRU chair. Three men will go head to head at the Kenya Rugby Union Headquarters in Ngong road to see who will be trusted with Kenya’s rugby in his hands.
Sasha Mutai, Oduor Gangla and Asiko Owiro are the candidates who have offered themselves for the chairman’s seat. Ezekiel Owuor bowed out of the contest. The three have all been associated with rugby before so it can be said that they at least have an idea about rugby in the country.
As the elections loom, what is at stake is the future of the union more than whether the candidate knows about rugby or not. Omwela’s predecessor, Mwangi Muthee, was heavily hailed for securing sponsors for Kenyan Rugby helping the sport grow in the country.
The Kenyan sevens team has flourished during both Muthee’s and Omwela’s tenure as they have brought Kenya to the map with their exemplary performance in the HSBC World Sevens series. However, this season has begun on the worst note for Shujaa as they have lost a majority of their matches in the played legs so far. The team is currently sitting 14th in the HSBC standings, two spots lower and they will be swimming in the relegation zone.
What the Union is looking for in the next leadership is a group that will see Kenyan Rugby grow even more, to a level the team will be competing for the titles in HSBC series competitions. The players who had boycotted training and matches because of low salaries have returned and Kenyan Rugby could be set for a great season finish.
Omwela’s successor will be watched closely on how he will handle the players to avoid such turmoil in the future as it has caused the team the first half of the season. If it weren’t for the return to work formula, the team was headed straight for relegation as their performance seemed to worsen by the day.
Shujaa team management will be the major task the next KRU chairman will have to pay much attention to. The team plays in a top league that pits top teams from around the world so its performance plays a big role in Kenya’s image to the world. The country has suffered enough humiliation when the team has been at its worst and the next Chairman should manage the team so as to avoid such scenarios.
While it is hard to know who really understands Kenyan Rugby to the extent that we can trust him with the union management for the next two years, all the candidates have banged their chests saying they are the ideal candidates for the position.
The contestants have met once on a head to head debate which was hosted by KRU media partner, Bamba Sport. In the debate, all the candidates vowed to stick around and help when needed in the event that they lost the elections. They all proved to the fans that rugby is not a corrupt game and it just needs the right person to call the shots.
In the elections, The Chairman and four Director- positions are to be contested for. The union is soon entering into a new regime.
[See Also: Senior Shujaa players are back for Hong Kong 7s]