Fans raise funds for Chipu ahead of World Rugby U-20 Trophy

Chipu

Victor Molla of Kenya is tackled by Marco Conti of Hongkong-China during World Rugby U-20 Trophy on July 25, 2023 at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Chipu qualified for the global event with victory in the Rugby Africa U-20 Barthes Trophy.
  • The World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is scheduled for July in Edinburgh, Scotland.

A group of rugby fans have created an M-changa account to raise funds for the national under-20 team, Chipu, that is preparing for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy.

Chipu qualified for the global event when they stunned Zimbabwe Junior Sables 28-13 during the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy final in April this year at Harare Sports Club.

The World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is scheduled for July 2 to 17, this year at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium, Scotland.

Rugby commentator Peter Ndonga, who is one of the enthusiasts, who came up with the initiative said the fundraising will culminate in a touch rugby tournament on Saturday at the RFUEA ground.

“We saw the struggles that the team went through before lifting the Barthes trophy and decided to step up, given the challenges the union is facing in terms of funding,” said Ndonga, adding that they target to raise Sh1 million.

Ndonga said that while these challenges do not have a quick solution, they thought it wise to help out in their preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy.

“Monies raised will help to cater for any needs of the players before departing to Scotland,” said Ndonga, adding that people can donate whatever they have to the team.

Those willing to contribute to #ChipuToScotland campaign can log into the M-Changa https://www.mchanga.africa/fundraiser/100214.

Entry fee for teams at the touch rugby tournament is Sh50,000 each while gate charges are Sh300.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) had submitted a budget of Sh46 million that was to cater for the team’s preparations before and during the championship in Scotland. 

“It’s not the first time they are raising funds for the team, having raised over US$ 1,000 after the team qualified in Zimbabwe,” said KRU chairman Sasha Mutai. “We are still in the red and such initiatives are welcomed.”

Mutai said they were to have several camps including a tour of South Africa but as things stand, the team shall just train locally before leaving for Scotland on Thursday next week.  

“Things are looking up and we hope that the good performances by Chipu and Kenya Sevens will draw sponsors on board,” said Mutai.

KRU chief executive officer Thomas Odundo disclosed that the team was to have a week-long camp in South Africa starting today at a cost of Sh15 million but the trip failed to materialise due to lack of funds.

“This was supposed to be a self-sponsored trip,” Odundo said.

The team has so far held two camps where they trained with Kenya Simbas in the last one before breaking on Monday.

“They will again train with the Simbas for three days next week before leaving. Chipu has been able to adapt well and we hope for the best,” said Odundo.

Kenya have been handed the Netherlands, Uruguay and United States of America at the World Under-20 Trophy in Pool “B” while the hosts Scotland will take on Japan, Samoa and Hong Kong China in Pool “A.”

World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is the second-tier age-grade rugby competition where the winner gets promoted to World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

It will be the third time Kenya is participating in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy after the country hosted the championship in 2009 and last year.