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SportPesa comes to Shujaa's rescue

Rugby
 CEO Sportpesa and MP for Kasarani Constituency Ronald Karauri with Nelson Oyoo Rugby Sevens player and Vincent Onyala (right) assistant Captain 15s during the launch of three years sponsorship to Kenya Rugby Union at The Orchid Restaurant, RFUEA Grounds, Ngong Road, Nairobi. December 15, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Most sports federations in Kenya are currently undergoing various financial difficulties that are affecting their performance.

And national sevens rugby team, Shujaa, is not an exception as they have struggled financially to honour the 2022/23 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Early this month the players begged Kenyans to donate to their course so they could meet their expenses for the second and third legs of the series in Dubai and Cape town.

But this begging bowl tendency could soon be over after gaming firm SportPesa came to Shujaa's aid yesterday.

The day saw SportPesa and the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) sign a three-year partnership deal worth Sh126 million, which was unveiled in Nairobi, that will cover most of Shujaa's travelling expenses.

The gaming firm previously served as the official headline partner of the union between 2016 and early 2018.

"We are delighted to be back in rugby even though we have not come in a big way as we did before," SportPesa Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karauri told Standard Sports.

KRU chairman, Oduor Gangla, also commented on the partnership, saying: "We are pleased to be reunited with SportPesa as we seek to steer our national sevens team to even greater height on the continental and global front, something that ties in well with our partners' ambition to steer the country to greater global sporting heights.

"We want to put the players in better and bigger contracts so that there is more push to work and deliver.

"We are looking to have them contracted for up to the 2024 Olympic Games so that there is a bigger and long term plan."

Shujaa captain, Nelson Oyoo, speaking on behalf of the team, said the players are delighted with the sponsorship because it has been a real tough walk for them, especially in the international series.

KRU CEO Aggrey Wabulwenyi said the support from the gaming firm is an incredibly important step for the federation to meet its strategic objectives in the game.

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