Monday, 21 February 2011

Rugby: Kenya Cup - Gulf between clubs, food for thought KRU....

Rugby has easily become a favourite sport for most Kenyans thanks to the exploits of the national 7s team. For the more ardent fan though there is the 15-a-side clubs circuit in the name of Kenya Cup. We also have the Super Series which has 5 ( or 8 franchises depending on whether the 2 from Uganda; 1 from Tanzania do participate) - in fact this year's Series comes in the next 2 months as the rugby calendar changes to accomodate the Safari Sevens which shall be played in November ( hoping to attract top seeds from the IRB circuit).
Kenya Harlequins 2011 Winners  -  Captain Victor Sudi all smiles with Kenya Cup Image courtesy of 

Back to the club game though, a causally look at the Kenya Cup standings shows some rift between the clubs. This is the case that the winners Kenya Harlequins won the Cup with 2 games to spare. The 2nd and 3rd placed KCB and Impala clubs had looked like they would challenge Quins for 'Okombe' but the steam ran out by early January with both teams losing fixtures they would have won to take the chase to the wire. It was interesting that last weekend the bottom 2 teams were fighting for survival as one of the teams drops to the Eric Shirley Shield for 2nd tier teams of the national rugby circuit.
Doesn't this show some big gulf between the top and bottom teams? It is true that the level of investment and corporate sponsorship attracted by some of the clubs puts them at a slightly better advantage than others. It is also fair to say that some clubs have been raided by the more 'affluent' ones thus losing their best to these teams.
This ought to be some food for thought for Kenya Rugby Union as they hope to give the Kenya Cup some better form of competitiveness. There is no use for teams to graduate to the upper levels but are ill-prepared more established ones. It is only fair if there is some form of equitable spread of investment. The clubs also need to show more inclusive managerial and tactical improvements. The 15s game is looking up following some good fixtures for the national team in the Enterprise and Victoria Cups. If this is to be sustained, the clubs need invest more in their technical and other necessary investments as may be needed to realise the success.
We should not be under any illusion that the success of a few clubs is good for the winners as it kills any form of competition and the same old same old names are staying up there ( a quick look at the list in the last 40 years, shows only 3 teams have won the Kenya Cup...hmmm...).

All the same, we look forward to some interesting games at both the 2011 Bamburi Super Series and Impala Floodlites.

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