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
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
“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
BID COMMITTEE MEMBERS (proposed):
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.