What you need to know:
- Gangla termed Teita Sisal Estate's gesture as humbling, saying it came at the right time.
- “I want to thank the company and we really appreciate this partnership. I also want to commend Friends of Rugby for their commitment to supporting the team,” said Gangla, adding that they are confident that the team will qualify for the world cup.
Kenya Simbas can breathe a sigh of relief after Teita Sisal Estates through The Hildana Lodge came to their aid Tuesday with Sh10 million sponsorship at Rugby Football Union of East Africa.
The Simbas leave the country Tuesday at dawn for the Africa qualifiers for the 2023 Paris Rugby World Cup.
The Africa qualifiers that involve eight teams will begin on Saturday in the French cities of Marseille and Aixen.
Kenya will take on Uganda in the quarter-finals on Saturday at Stade Maurice David in Aixen.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and Friends of Rugby had two weeks ago kicked off a social media campaign on the online fundraising platform M-Changa.
Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla and captain Dan Sikuta were at hand to receive the sponsorship cheque from Teita Sisal Estate representative, Jimmy Munene.
“This is not just an investment, it’s a commitment to the society through transforming and developing the sport of rugby in Kenya,” said Munene.
He noted that this is not the first time that Teita Sisal Estates was supporting rugby since they sponsored the national Under-20 team, Chipu, to the World Under-20 Trophy in 2019 in Brazil.
“The future of the game has to be promoted to ensure consistency in performance and growth of the game to take the team to the Rugby World Cup in 2023 in Paris,” said Munene.
Odera said: “We are now relaxed, and we can go to France comfortably with our eyes fixed on the prize. I took my Rosary and prayed for support from friends, relatives and everyone.”
He said that it is humbling when people make a commitment to support their team to qualify for the World Cup.
Odera said that the relationship with Hildana has been there since 2019 when they sponsored the national Under-20 team, Chipu, to the World Under-20 Trophy in 2019 in Brazil.
“We value the support from Philip Kyriazi’s family through Teita Sisal Estate, and Friends of Rugby group chaired by Dicky Evans,” he said, adding that if Kenya Simbas are supported, the game is transformed and players earn respect.
Odera said that Kenya’s aim is to qualify for the first time for the rugby bonanza.
“It won't be easy, but we are confident that if we play according to how we prepared, we shall make it. Those who watched us play at Currie Cup First Division know that the team has the ability to compete against the best in Africa,” said Odera.
He said his players are going to give everything on the pitch, not only to bring pride to themselves but also to honour those who’ve sacrificed to for them like Teita Sisal Estate and Friends of Rugby.
Gangla said Teita Sisal Estate's gesture is humbling. He said they have so far spent Sh50 million to prepare Kenya Simbas even though they had a budget of Sh230 million to play successfully at the World Cup.
“However, Sh22 million was needed urgently to cater for the team’s allowances and local training expenses,” said Gangla.