Ahead of the next two legs of the IRB 7s series up to 16 key Shujaa players are on a go slow over reduced salaries and have boycotted training.
According to a new remuneration structure, which is bringing tension, financially crippled Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has slashed senior players leg takings from Ksh170,000 and Ksh145,000 to Sh100,000 and below in addition to performance bonuses.
Each player is entitled to get Sh100,000 for a leg in the Series and Sh50,00 for reaching the final. For third place finish, the players were meant to draw Sh40,000, while they are entitled to Sh35,000 for finishing fourth and Sh30,000 fifth.
The players were to get Sh20,000 for reaching Cup quarterfinals.
The team is expected to leave on January 19 for the next legs of the 2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series in New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand city of Hamilton will host the next leg of World Rugby Sevens Series from January 26 to 27 before teams head to Sydney in Australia from February 2 to 3.
According to the Daily Nation, the Kenya Sevens head coach Paul “Pau” Murunga on Monday warned that the senior players may not make the team for the two legs even if they are to resume training owing to fitness issues.
When contacted for comment, KRU’s acting CEO Sylvia Kamau declined to give a statement on the players’ strike, saying it would jeopardize negotiations that are going on.
“We don’t 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,” Kamau told the Nation.
Kamau, who declined to disclose details of the new salary structure, said should negotiations stall, the federation would make do with a new crop of players.
“We will have no otherwise but to select new players since we don’t have sponsors to sustain big pay,” Kamau said yesterday.
Former Kenya Sevens skipper Andrew Amonde, William “Lomu” Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Nelson Oyoo and Collins Injera, who were with Kenya Simbas in their failed 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying campaign in Repechage held in France, have not reported to training.
The players have also stayed away after the Union failed to pay them their salaries and match allowances from Repechage,” the source, who preferred anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Kenya Sevens skipper Eden Agero, Dennis Ombachi and Jeff Oluoch, who were part of the Dubai and Cape Town campaigns, have also not trained with the team since then.
Billy Odhiambo trained with the team briefly but later opted to stay out altogether alongside former Kenya Sevens skipper Oscar Ayodi who was nursing an injury sustained during the local series, Oscar Ouma.
Also out of training is Augustine Lugonzo, Brian Tanga, Dan Sikuta and Leonard Mugaisi who was in Dubai and Cape Town, and Arthur Owira, who sustained a nasty injury during the Commonwealth Games in April.