NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – New Kenya Rugby Union boss Oduor Gangla says he will focus his energy on fixing the current problems bedeviling the national sevens team as he looks to work on better player welfare for national team players.
Shujaa has been forced to play the first five legs of the series with an inexperienced squad after senior players boycotted training after their contracts were reviewed, slashing their salaries.
But this week, the Union said in a statement that the senior players have agreed to get back to training to help save the team from relegation as a core team in the World Series, Gangla now says he will ensure the matter is taken to rest at the earliest possible opportunity.
“The most important in all this is that both parties are committed to finding solution. Given the challenges we have faced we have moved a long way we are trying to get amicable solution in the interest of Kenyan rugby,” Gangla said.
He added; “There is an agreement in place on the key principles on a return to work formula. Te issues surrounding length of contract, compensation and where we start off is just about fine tuning so that no one feels disenfranchised in any way.”
The team is placed 14th in the World Sevens rankings with 18 points after six rounds and are preparing for the Asian tour of the series which will take them to Hong Kong and Singapore next month.
Meanwhile, despite being in the board that saw the national team problems escalate, Gangla says he will bring in a fresh face of leadership having taken over from Richard Omwela.
“Our styles basing on our background and experiences are different. I have been involved in club rugby having served as the Impala chair for about four seasons and that also brings in a different flavor in the game. You will see stronger emphasis in the local game. I am all about academy rugby and international relations and definitely we will work to improve the game,” Gangla further stated.
He added; “Richard has done well, and it will be unfair if his legacy is judged coming down from what has happened over the last six months.”
“Confidence from people out there is about the vision, going out there and telling people where you want to take the game. Don’t look at me having served in the previous board and limit my vision to just the challenges we have had in the board. Its about where we want to go,”
At the same time, Gangla says the first order of business will be re-constituting the board after four new directors were voted in.
“Some members had some key dockets and they are no longer there, Now we have to convene a board meeting at the earliest opportunity available and reconstitute the board. Most of the things we have planned including the creation of the Kenya Rugby Limited can only happen with a functional board,” Gangla noted.
Meanwhile, the new boss says he is ready to work with Sasha Mutai and Asiko Owiro who he defeated in Wednesday evening’s poll.
“We had discussions with Sasha and Asiko that regardless of outcome of elections we must work together because we are passionate about the game and with different strengths. I will follow up that commitment we made to each other during campaign,” he added.
This comes even as Mutai expressed shock at his loss but stated he would always be in rugby despite failing for a second time to clinch the top post at the Union.
“We were working out the numbers in the morning and I thought I was winning, but things change in politics. It’s an interesting day in rugby politics today. The affiliates didn’t want change. They are the ones who own the game all we can do is wish new team the best,” Mutai said.
“I will always be in rugby; this is the game I love. Four years is a long time let’s see what happens; let’s see what the new office can do,” he further added.
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