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Kenya 'serious' about hosting IRB Rugby sevens series

04 February 2014, 14:15

Nairobi - The proposed Kenya bid committee for the country to become a member of the HSBC Sevens World Series from 2014/15 season has begun deliberations.

Bob Collymore, the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom Limited, the country’s main sponsors of Sevens Rugby, hosted the invited panel at the Michael Joseph Centre in Westlands, Nairobi. Immediately, a Steering Committee comprising leading management from various stakeholders was constituted and is set to start work with their first meeting early next week.

Collymore and Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, Mwangi Muthee, said the bid could only be successful “ If all Kenyans, from the very top to the bottom, support it.”

The IRB [International Rugby Board] will be expanding the World Series from the current nine rounds to 10 or up to 12 rounds beginning in the 2014/15 season. Among other expected bidders to be included in the expanded roster are: Singapore, Buenos Aires, Paris and Rome.

Kenya hope that their 17-year-old annual international tournament – the Safaricom Sevens – will get a fair nod from IRB decision makers come the conclusion of the 2013/2014 HSBC World Sevens Series season.

Muthee said: “The absolute backing of our sponsors Safaricom, makes the KRU confident that the country will work on a convincing bid. But almost everything hinges on the practical support of the Government and the people of Kenya. If they do not want this badly, then it cannot happen.”

Mwangi pointed out that other bids that Africa had made in the past required the “working, sweat and mileage travelled by, for example, Nelson Mandela and Frederick de Clarke to bring the 2010 FIFA World Cup to South Africa.

“The KRU will not bring the World Series to Kenya, the Kenya Government, its people and all passionate corporate will and I hope it will happen.”

Among those straight into the Working Committee are the representative of Dr Evans Kidero, Governor of the Nairobi City County, proposed hosts of the tournament. Minister of Sports on the County, Christopher Khaemba formerly Head Master in rugby playing Alliance High School, attended today’s meeting and will sit in the committee.

Taking charge in Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts will be Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario’s representative, Ambassador Ann Nyikuli.

Muthee said: “The Ministry will play the most crucial role to co-ordinate Government operation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries in charge of security. We are pleased with Government move into action right from the onset.”

Muthee said the Government understood the huge gains the country will have if the Safaricom Sevens are included in the World Series boosting Kenya’s tourism, trade and positive publicity.

“We have it from the IRB that the World Series have a global audience across 149 countries and that 38 broadcasters air the Series “live” to 390 million homes.”

The local broadcast partners of the KRU are Zuku Sports of the Wananchi Group will airing “live” matches and other shows Kenya Rugby in the current season.

IRB’s HSBC Sevens World Series in 2014/15


1.      Bob Collymore – CEO Safaricom Ltd

2.      Prof Githu Muigai – Attorney General Republic of Kenya

3.      Dr Hassan Wario – Cabinet Secretary Sports, Arts and Culture

4.      Dr Evans Kidero – Governor Nairobi County

5.      David Kimaiyo – Inspector General of [Kenya] Police

6.      Dr Titus Naikuni – CEO Kenya Airways

7.      Dr  Kipchoge Keino – Chairman, National Olympic Committee of Kenya [NOCK]

8.      Dr James Mwangi – Chairman Vision 2030

9.      Kiprono Kittony – Chairman, Media Owners Association

10.   Mary Kimonye – CEO, Brand Kenya

11.   Kitili Mbathi – Chairman, Kenya Tourism Board

12.   Jaideep S Vohra - Chairman, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers

Already seconded by stake holders to the Working Committee:

Ambassador Ann B Nyikuli (Director of Administration, Ministry of Sport, Culture and Arts), Christine A Agimba (Deputy Solicitor General, The State Law Office), Christopher Khaemba (Minister of Youth and Sport, Nairobi City County Government), Rita Okuthe (Director – Marketing, Safaricom Limited), Zaheeda Suleman (Head of Department  - Events & Sponsorships), Rose Asiimwe (National Brand Manager, Brand Kenya); Margaret Ireri (IPSOS Synovate), Gabriel Komora (CEO Sports Stadia Management Board), Peter Omwenga (Senior Manager, Media and Activations), Gary Rathbone (Head of Sport, Zuku Sports and Wananchi Group), Eric Ochola (Head of Department – Branding, Safaricom Limited), Sasha Mutai (Vice-chairman, KRU),  Gabriel Ouko (KRU), Jack Okoth (KRU), Godwin Karuga (KRU).

Rita Okuthe Chairs the Working Committee. Zaheeda Suleiman is the Secretary. Working committee 1st meeting will be next week.

KRU submits the EOI [Expression of Intent] to the IRB by end of 28th Feb 2014.


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