“In this statement, we will give our side of the story and answer some of the unanswered questions. We just want to add that we are doing this for the love and respect we have for this game,” the statement signed by 19 members reads in part.
On Thursday, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) board relieved the 7s head coach Innocent Simiyu of his duties after he defended his players.
The team on its part reiterates that the decision to blank out the Brand Kenya logo was a team decision, and not a decision led by a single individual or a group within the team.
The statement signed by Oscar Ayodi(captain), Oscar Ouma, Andrew Amonde, Collins Injera, William Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo, Dan Sikuta, Dennis Ombachi, Eden Agero, Samuel Oliech, Augustine Lugonzo, Jeff Oluoch, Nelson Oyoo, Brian Tanga, Arthur Owira, Herman Humwa, Ian Minjire, Eric Ombasa and Samuel Mureithi seeks to explain to their fans, supporters what really caused them to take the drastic decision which CS Tourism Najib Balala thought was ’embarrassing.’
The following is the account of events as explained by the Shujaa team 2017/18:
The team met with Brand Kenya CEO together with the KRU CEO on the 24th May 2018 after Brand Kenya had announced that they are coming in to sponsor Shujaa as their brand ambassadors to a tune of 20 Million Kenya shillings for a period of 8 months.
It is during this meeting that the Brand Kenya CEO said that each player would get a token of 100,000 Kenya Shillings in form of cheques. But the KRU CEO interjected and instead asked for the monies to be deposited with the KRU first.
“As players we didn’t see anything wrong with this as we were told the Money will be in our accounts before we travel for the London and Paris legs. We agreed to this as we had already been told by our team manager that our May salaries are going to be delayed and paid on the 7th of May, so we knew the 100,000 Kenya Shillings is going to sort out a few bills as we wait for the salaries to be paid,” the statement reads.
The National team then proceeded to London where the team manager informed them that their dues would be in their accounts before Thursday, 31 May.
But on Friday, the team says, the money was yet to reflect in their accounts. They then travelled to Paris, put their hearts into the game without pay.
“On Monday 4 May, we travelled to Paris and still nothing had reflected in our accounts, on asking the team manager the reason money hasn’t hit our accounts, he said that he shall have a solid answer by Thursday 7 June, the time which we are supposed to receive our salaries.,” the statement continues.
But on 7 June the money still did not come, hence the decision to blank out their sponsor’s logo from their jerseys.
It is after their decision that they learned that KRU had a bank overdraft that they didn’t know of, and that’s when they understood why the KRU CEO insisted that the money should go through KRU accounts.
“We love doing what we do and it is with so much pride that we don the national team jersey and represent our country on the International rugby playing platform. It is unfortunate that what appeared to be an internal matter has degenerated into uncalled for hostility and demonization of the players,” the players added.
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