Kenya challenges rugby team to go for World Cup glory, reinstate sponsorship

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-30 02:25:03|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has challenged the Sevens rugby team to rise above their petty problems and clinch the World Cup in San Francisco, the United States.

Echesa, who was speaking in Nairobi Friday together with Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, when they met the Sevens team wants Kenya to walk the talk and win the World Cup.

The two Cabinet Secretaries used the opportunity to reinstate Brand Kenya's sponsorship to the Sevens rugby team, Shujaa, ahead of their trip to San Francisco from July 20-23.

"We have overcome this challenge. Now go and conquer the world," said Echesa.

The tourism minister had cancelled the 200,000 U.S. dollar sponsorship with the team after they had blocked the sponsor's signage on their shirts during the final leg of the World Series in Paris on June 10.

However, after lengthy negotiation, the sports and tourism ministry agreed to restore the deal.

"We have opted to talk because the government is happy and impressed with the progress the sevens team has had and glory it has brought the country for years.

"That is why we called the players to chat with them. The important thing is the players apologized on the action they took in Paris because it was embarrassing to the country. Whatever differences they had with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) should not have been shown to the global audience," said Balala.

In join conference with KRU, Balala reassured the Sevens team that their sponsorship is guaranteed and the government will continue supporting them.

The team will now have the 'Magical Kenya' brand on their shirt and not the 'Make it Kenya' in a new three-year deal.

The two ministers will also discuss with KRU Chairman Richard Omwela and CEO Ronald Bukusi on the new deal.

"It has been accepted globally that everything you do in Kenya is magical including our Kenya Sevens team Shujaa's performances on the international forum," said Balala.

Kenya Sevens team captain Andrew Amonde was present in the meeting to confirm that the Ministry of Tourism will pay players 25,000 dollars in outstanding wages.

"The players are sorry for what happened. We are happy as a team for this and we now focus on what is ahead to excel at the World Cup," said Amonde.

Echesa had also restored Innocent Simiyu as head coach after the union had sacked him for the actions the players did.

The World Cup starts off with their match against Tonga and winner will meet Scotland.