Following some incorrect information appearing in the local media we have made a decision to come out to set the record straight.Out of the respect we have for the lovers of rugby in this county and beyond, we had chosen to keep quiet as we tried to sort the issues we had raised behind the scenes. To begin with, we would like to wish all the three Kenyan teams and invited teams a great tournament.
It is always a Proud moment playing in front of the fans back at home. But, as you know, some of the players are not part of these three teams and we would like to state the reasons why the players are not donning the Kenya shirts.
We can only do this by explaining to the rugby fraternity what transpired. In this press statement, we will give our side of the story and answer some of the unanswered questions.
We just want to add that we are doing this for the love and respect we have for this game. We would also like to state that we have followed the right protocols to see that the concerns were addressed.
Below is a chronology of the events that led to the impasse:
- The national team players resumed training at Brookhouse School on Monday 15th September as scheduled.
- At the training venue, we were informed by the team manager that our contracts had been cancelled and were under review. This happened when the player’s salaries for August had not been remitted to the respective accounts.
- We immediately asked why the contracts were being cancelled without a prior notice.
- Let us explain that there is a protocol to be followed when there is a concern among the playing unit. It requires Senior players to meet and raise issues pertaining to the welfare of the playing unit.
This was done but the issues were not addressed. Senior players met the team management, and raised the issues which were discussed at length.
- Contract cancellation without prior notice.
2)Delayed August salaries.
- Medical cover/Player welfare.
- Retainer for the new players called up to the team.
- End of year bonus deductions.
At this juncture, we would like to clarify that the contractual document which we signed was an appointment letter which stated that a contract would be provided. None of us knew the contents or signed the contract.
After a lengthy meeting with the technical bench, we came up with solutions and agreed the training program would continue with no further delays.
-We also agreed that the contracted players should wait for the August salaries to reflect in their accounts by Monday 22nd September. They (KRU) admitted there was poor communication on the contracts’ cancellation and that they will review the contracts come October 31st when they have their review process.
-That the new players that have been called up to the national team will each receive a retainer to sort out their expenses.
-The medical cover was going to be looked into and the various options be discussed after which an insurance option that was to cover the players adequately was to be sorted out.
-End of year bonus wasn’t sorted out as we were advised that KRU was adhering to new tax policy and we would have to get more advice on that.
The meeting, which was purely meant to discuss the player’s welfare ended on a very positive note.
After meeting with the technical bench, there was a positive development for which we were very grateful. Players received their salaries on Monday 22nd and as well the New call ups received their monthly stipend.
But, there were pending issues. There was no information about our current medical cover and the end of year bonuses. This was surprising. After what seemed to be a very positive meeting on Saturday, the tone changed because we were informed that we could not negotiate anymore, yet key issues such as Medical cover.
Player Welfare, and Deducted Bonuses were still pending.
We felt these were pertinent and basic needs for the playing unit and at that time, we were ready to accept a commitment to address the said issues by our employer.
When the tone changed, we felt it was not fair and all we needed was an explanation and a commitment that the issues we raised would be addressed.
We love doing what we do and it is with so much pride that we don the national team jersey and represent our country on the International rugby playing platform. It is unfortunate that what appeared to be an internal matter has degenerated into uncalled for hostility and demonization of certain players.
We respect the institution. Respect is a two-way process. It is unfair to give us tags when all we are asking for is a tool to ensure that we do our work to the best of our ability.
The issues we have raised are basic but crucial now and in future. We would not like to antagonize anybody but, a time has come for our side of the story to be heard.
We reiterate, we have never refused to talk and discuss with the technical bench or the KRU.
We feel that we have not been unreasonable with whatever issues we have raised. We are not rogues, rebels or superstars.
For most of us rugby has been part of our lives and played a big role in being role models in society and not forgetting the amazing support of the 40M+ over the years in good and bad times.
We have evidence of documented minutes and emails trying to resolve this, and get an amicable solution so the game we all love has to continue. This is our stand and we wish all the teams a good Safari Sevens #Kenya7s
SIGNED BY: Patrice Agunda, Collins Injera, Biko Adema, Horace Otieno, Oscar Ouma, Philip Wamae, Dan Sikuta, Dennis Ombachi, Billy Odhiambo, Michael Agevi, Tony Owuor, Michael Wanjala, Felix Ayange, Oscar Ayodi, Eden Agero, Sammy Oliech, Humphrey Kayange, Lavin Asego.