The Kenya team need Sh18m to effectively prepare for the I international Rugby Board U-20 World Cup in Brazil in July.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) had presented a budget of Sh20m to the government for the same but yesterday received Sh2m from Haco through their brand, Amara, who are now their official grooming partner.
Speaking during the unveiling of the partnership, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla said talks between them and government are in progress and they are hopeful the funding will come through.
“Our discussions with the Ministry of Sports have been going on well but until we see the money in our accounts, we can’t start planning for anything,” Gangla said.
The team will camp in South Africa for training before departing to Brazil for the World Cup.
The move by the government to delay the cash has seen the union launch an online campaign dubbed #AShillingForChipu to raise funds for the young boys. Gangla said the campaign has received huge support from many Kenyans and each shilling will be accounted for.
“You are going to see a lot of transparency. We are not going to hide anything and we will make sure Kenyans are informed how the cash raised was spent,” Odour noted.
Two weeks ago, Sports CS Amina Mohammed visited the team at RFUEA grounds and pledged government support for their preparations. During the visit, Amina noted that the U-20 team problems will be addressed including their trip to South Africa.
However, KRU are pleased with Haco sponsorship and Gangla has described it as timely considering the current economic situation in the country. On her part, Haco’s head of marketing, Mwihaki Wachira, said the Sh2m sponsorship was part of Haco’s long walk with the union.
“This sponsorship is just the beginning! We will be partnering with KRU in the Elgon Cup, Enterprise Cup final as well as the National Sevens Circuit. Our hope and belief is to grow together,” she noted. The national side has been training under Paul Odera and captain Boniface Ochieng.