Photo: Philip Jalango giving rugby balls to Kenya lionesses 7s team in 2015.
Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive of English Premier League Club stated “What we are emphasizing is player development and expanding opportunities because we believe there are far more players in this country than we are able to identify”.
Ladies and Gentlemen …
As the incumbent Vice Chairman, I would like to proudly and formally launch my candidature for the post of Vice on the board of KRU, 2016-2018. I state this formally, but for those in the game know that involvement at all levels for the good of the game is perpetual and I am confident that with my continued participation recognition of growth therein will follow. Elections in any society or association are essential as they ensure accountability and a healthy state of affairs, but campaigning is not just a one month affair limited to only your friends or club; it is a continuous process of monitoring, assisting and evaluating. I am confident that that is what I have been doing over the last few years and that has equipped me to vie for this post with confidence and the support of my family.
Ladies and gentlemen, our game has seen a lot of highs and lows. We have had many feats to celebrate as well as moments of great learning. It has been said by Robin Sharma that ‘Change is Hard at first, Messy in the middle and Gorgeous in the end’.
Kenya Rugby Union has really changed over the years and more so in the last four (4) years, with the sport in Kenya at the highest level becoming professional and semi-professional in some clubs and still amateur in others. This in itself has been a challenge for KRU, as to compete at the highest level in 7’s and 15’s players need to be professional, to be catered for in that way, so as to compete with the best in the World. In the face of dwindling sponsorship, we have had to make tough decisions to steer our lads and women. Today we are proud to be the first Union with both our Sevens teams (Men and Women) travelling to the Rio Olympics.
We still have a long way to go to strengthen our Kenya Cup teams and more importantly the Nationwide league. To this end we have conducted a process and have identified a Director of Rugby, who will implement a development plan, going into the grass roots of our game, ensure that boys and girls from primary school are introduced to rugby, to nurture the talent into secondary and high school. To support this we plan that the DOR will ensure education of our evolving sport to the coaches and match officials. Ladies and gentlemen we have huge reserves of rugby talent just waiting to be discovered and I have been a part of this development and know that the end will be gorgeous.
The path to success is potholed with challenges and we have had to handle several issues on the board, but when on a board you’re still responsible and indeed that is how it should be. In a lot of ways however, the challenges have proved to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed me time to critically look at the development of the game and the key factors that we need to address. I am pleased with the continued partnership of World Rugby through the Get In to Rugby (GIR) program, technical support through respective training and educator program as well as tools. Importantly I managed to spend more time with clubs and assist where I could – technically and with tools e.g. rugby balls. Challenges of accountability at all levels has led to some structural changes and the same continue, but it has been at a cost as when you are bold to question issues usually human nature dictates that those questioned out of their comfort zone often push back with intend to marline or stop your ethical pursuit.
Ladies and Gentlemen, am not claiming to be free from error or to have the perfect solution, what I am saying is that am a better Vice Chair and Director now than when I was first elected. As you know, this is not a role where there is a manual or where every day is business as usual – over time you get a sense of what’s important, what’s not, how to anticipate problems as opposed to just managing problems once they have arrived. The last two years as a Vice Chair have especially taught me to be resilient. With confidence I can now clear my head, push aside the noise and jointly with others make hard decisions in the interest of the game as may have been noted in the development committee largely in 2015.
I am convinced that our game has moved from the Hard and Messy phase and we now need to carry on with the mission of ‘Kicking our game back to life’ in order to help it graduate to the gorgeous phase. To win at this we must not worry about who takes the credit for it or whose made it happen but certainly and in echoing the sentiments of our Club Chairmen and fellow aspirants –‘that our game can rise out of its current crisis only if we ALL get together, cooperate and agree to move forward’.
Members of the rugby family, our affiliates, sponsors and respective stakeholders, this is the reason I have this campaign, to persuade you and prove to you that yes, we’re not where we need to be, but am fighting every single day on your behalf and ready to continue fighting to make our sport better – to ‘Kick it back to life’. That am on your side, am asking for your support and the years of experience means I have a concrete plan and a vision for how, over time we can solve these problems that weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved over night.
Ladies and Gentlemen like all men, I am not perfect; May not be a perfect Director. One thing you can count on however is that I will wake up every day and work as hard as I can for you. For progress we will - TOGETHER.