Kenya Varsity League attracts 16 teams

Kuza Kizazi

From left: Kuza Kizazi officials Nyawera Njonjo, Willy Oyosi (seated), Festus Monanda, Faith Kisero and James Kimutai during an interview at Nation Centre on August 10, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kuza Kizazi is now searching for a major partner to take university sports to the next level.
  • Many famous Kenyan rugby players honed their skills playing for their respective university sides the likes of Edward Rombo, Andrew Lopokoyit, Manuel Okoth, Peter Gichuki among others.

The Kenya Varsity League is set to return this September, promising to be bigger than before, and offering more than just rugby action on the pitch.

Sixteen universities will feature in the competition, which was last held in 2018 under Kenya University Sports Association (Kusa) now called Kenya University Sports Federation (KUSF).

KUSF has contracted Kuza Kizazi – a local talent management agency- to run the league for the next 10 years, with the goal being to make it more lucrative and competitive while empowering the varsity students with skills to tackle life outside rugby.

This season’s league will run from September 24 to November 26.

“Kuza Kizazi is looking to re-brand the competition and make it more competitive, sustainable, and thereby have more impact on the students’ professional careers,” said Kuza Kizazi founder Willy Oyosi.

“We wanted to help nurture talents in all age groups, so we thought let us first start with universities because they are adults thus easy to deal with, then trickle down to high schools and primary school,” he said.

KUSF has already invited 16 universities to participate in this year’s competition, which is expected to run for 10 consecutive weekends at different venues across the country.

Their invitations were based on the institutions having a rugby team that has been in existence for several years.

The 16 teams included University of Nairobi (UoN), Kisii University, Technical University of Kenya, Technical University of Mombasa, Kenyatta University (KU), Strathmore University, Meru University, Egerton University, Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Others are Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust), Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kabarak University, Daystar University and University of Eldoret.

There will also be a women’s league involving UoN, KU, Mmust and Strathmore.

It will be interesting to see whether some of the big guns in university rugby such as UoN, KU, Mmust and Jkuat field their main sides that participate Kenya Cup and Championships league.

Kuza Kizazi said they are also working fixture between the Varsity league winner, and a top rugby team from outside Kenya but in Africa.

Oyosi said their plan is to have two or three tiers to create enough room for all willing universities to take part and compete equally.

During the matches, the institutions of higher learning will get the opportunity to market themselves, and outline their uniqueness through a series of clinics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

“Out of such activities (clinics and CSR) , the universities will be able to model the students into holistic individuals that are ready to tackle the global challenges we face today, not only through talent but also by imparting social responsibilities into them,” said Oyosi.

“We are planning to reach more students and enlighten them on various issues affecting them through the sport, such as mental health, gender and careers.”

They plan to introduce other sports in future.

The varsity league managers will do in campus activations leading to the weekend’s fixtures starting every Wednesday through to match day.

Kuza Kizazi is now searching for a major partner to take university sports to the next level.

Many famous Kenyan rugby players honed their skills playing for their respective university sides the likes of Edward Rombo, Andrew Lopokoyit, Manuel Okoth, Peter Gichuki among others.

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