Harrison Kivisu and agencies @PeopleSport11
The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) board has reportedly “sacked” Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu in the wake of the sponsor black-out saga at the Paris Sevens last month.
KRU is said to have instigated proceedings against the team for masking off the “Make it Kenya” logo from the front of their jerseys at the Paris sevens and according to sources, Simiyu stormed the meeting on Wednesday to stand for his players, saying they should not be victimised for the action.
And now, the board seems to have taken the drastic decision of axing the tactician who is credited for leading the team to their best ever finish in the World Rugby Sevens series where they finished with 104 points.
Efforts to reach the KRU to confirm the development were futile as calls went unanswered.
Simiyu still has less than four months to run in his contract having signed a two-year deal in October 2016.
This comes just hours after Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala ordered for the cancellation of the Sh20 million Brand Kenya deal over what he termed breach of contract.
Balala registered his disappointment following the embarrassing situation during the Paris leg of the World Sevens Series on the weekend of June 9 and 10 where Kenya Sevens players played the entire tournament with the branding of their shirt sponsor, Brand Kenya, concealed.
Shujaa blocked the “Make it Kenya” brand in Paris allegedly in protest against non-payment of Sh4 million to the players.
The incident led to a back and forth between KRU and Brand Kenya with the former seeking answers as to why the players were not paid yet part of the money had allegedly been wired to the latter.
“Anybody who wants to partner with us must have very clear guidelines,” said Balala.
“I was really pained to see a country being betrayed in a global competition because of people failing to be patriotic to their motherland. Today we order that contract to be cancelled,” he added.
However, KRU has defended themselves, saying the team left before the money from Brand Kenya had hit their accounts and that the players were aware of this development.
“The team was told that they would be paid upon their return to Kenya at which time we expected our finances to have improved with funding from government and sponsors,” said KRU in a statement yesterday.
Additional information from Capital