Kenya Sevens team fights relegation threat amid player boycott

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-09 21:05:15|Editor: Li Xia
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NAIROBI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's rugby team risk relegation from the World Series, and it will be forced to compete without its top players during the Hamilton Sevens in New Zealand on Jan. 26, the third stop in the World Series.

Without a sponsor, Sevens head coach Paul Murunga has opted to name six uncapped players in his squad, which will travel to New Zealand on Jan. 19 for a one-week training camp.

Kenya is grouped alongside with fellow continental giants South Africa, France and Scotland.

Despite Kenya's dismal show in the opening two legs in Dubai and Cape Town, coupled with the current impasse over player remuneration, coach Murunga says they will weather the storm and avoid the chop.

"Kenya team will survive the axe. The boys are resilient and confident and have learnt from the two opening legs. We hope to improve as the season continues," said Murunga on Wednesday in Nairobi.

"We must assess all players and see where they fit with the rest of the training squad," he added.

World Series top scorer Collins Injera, former captain Andrew Amonde, Willy Ambaka, Dennis Ombachi, Sammy Oliech, Nelson Oyoo, Billy Odhiambo and Dan Sikuta have not played in the new season and have opted to stay away from the training camp.

The elite players have reneged on signing new contracts with half pay and are sticking in their feet seeking for better remuneration from the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).

The Union's CEO Sylvia Kamau says whereas they want the service of the top players, they may not be able to afford it at the moment.

"We can't give salaries and big promises that we won't meet but at the same time, we still want these players. It's a catch-22 situation for us," said Kamau.

Now the union is turning its eyes on the young players and hope a miracle will happen to guide them through the two legs in New Zealand and Australia in January and February.