What you need to know:
- Senior players Willy Ambaka and Billy Odhiambo tweeted on Sunday explaining the team's financial woes to Kenyans and urged them to send their contributions through online fundraising platform M-Changa
- The recent development comes in the wake of a string of poor results from Shujaa which head coach Damian McGrath has attributed to financial constraints among other off the pitch issues affecting the team
- Kenya will take on Hong Kong Sevens champion Australia, South Africa and Great Britain in Pool “A” of Dubai Sevens due for December 2 to 3 at the Sevens Stadium
Abandoned by the government and Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), financially strained Kenya Sevens players have now resorted to fundraise for their upkeep ahead of Dubai Sevens and Cape Town Sevens legs of the World Rugby Sevens series.
Senior players William "Lomu" Ambaka and Billy "The Kid" Odhiambo put up the M-changa number to raise funds as they expressed how it had been tough for them and their families without salaries and allowances.
The players said that they have gone for three months without pay, making their lives unbearable both on and off the field.
Sources within the team indicated that if it comes to the worst, the players might boycott travelling to Dubai.
The team is scheduled to depart at midnight Sunday.
“Greetings to the Kenya Sevens family!” Ambaka said on his Twitter handle. “As some of you may have heard, we are now going on our third month without pay. Our lives have been greatly strained, even in our persistent effort to give you the desired outcomes on the pitch.”
Ambaka explained that as they continue to rain hard, they have had to deal with the daily life challenges of bills by digging through their savings and the efforts of a few local and international well wishers.
“Our desperate situation has now forced us to turn to you, our global community, to help us in raising funds,” Ambaka appealed to Kenyans and other well wishers, adding that money raised will be split among the players to help settle some of their pending bills. “We need your assistance.”
Odhiambo said that they have struggled to be in the right frame of mind ahead of the second and third legs of the 2022/23 World Sevens Series in Dubai and Cape Town.
The players appealed to the sporting fraternity to forward their contributions to M-Pesa Paybill number 891300, account number 60365.
Kenya will take on Hong Kong Sevens champion Australia, South Africa and Great Britain in Pool “A” of Dubai Sevens due for December 2 to 3 at the Sevens Stadium.
Kenya Sevens head coach Damian McGrath had expressed his concerns during the opening leg of the World Sevens series in Hong Kong early this month, saying his players couldn’t have given their best with many off-the-pitch problems affecting them.
McGrath apologised for the poor results where his team finished the Hong Kong Sevens preliminary round outing winless, having lost 19-14 to Canada and 26-7 to Argentina in their final Pool “D” matches at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Battered Kenya Sevens had wobbled through Hong Kong Sevens to finish last without a win.
Shujaa only managed to squeeze a point from the leg when they lost to New Zealand 43-0 in the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals before shockingly going down to Uruguay 10-7 in the semi-final for 13th place.
McGrath cited several issues affecting the team, including lack of training facilities, lack of contracts for the players and salaries for the technical bench last week before the team left for Hong Kong Sevens.
McGrath said he had also not been paid his salary for the last two months while the players haven’t been offered contracts nor received their allowances since the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September in Cape Town.