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Rugby players should quit moaning and put the country’s interests first

By Fred Waga | Jun 3rd 2017 | 2 min read

The Kenya Rugby Union is not doing enough to address the grievances of young players. Rants over low pay by new call ups to the national team have been there before, with some players suggesting that they will sabotage play to push for what they want.
Unfortunately, there is little to suggest that these complaints are getting attention from rugby managers. And this indifference is beginning to show on the pitch, going by the Sevens team’s performance on the World Rugby circuit, where Kenya’s strong showing of yesteryear is diminishing with each passing leg.
These complaints over pay are symptomatic of bigger problems. It is quite evident that there is a disconnect between the aspirations of younger players and the objectives of union officials. Rugby managers are clearly living in the past when rugby was generally considered a gentleman’s sport, the histrionics of heavy drinking and bawdy camaraderie aside. Most of the current crop of players were not introduced to rugby in the elite grammar schools that helped produce the cream of Kenyan society.
These players are regular unemployed youths who see rugby — not as a pleasurable pastime — but as a means to earn a living. Naively, these players want to be treated as charges who raise the profile of corporate brands that sponsor rugby teams.
However, players must realise that sport is not purely an avenue for putting food on the table. Playing for a national team should never be equated with a mercantile pursuit commensurate with dukawallah trading in the back streets of a city.

The rugby squad must realise there is a privilege and honour associated with wearing the national colours. Therefore, some sacrifice is required. The underlying goal should be to bring glory and pride to the country — not to blackmail rugby managers for better pay.
When money becomes the single most important pursuit, then we will be going down a slippery slope.

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