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SportPesa make timely return to rugby sponsorship



Betting firm, SportPesa are back in rugby.

The firm’s Chief Executive officer Robert Karauri has confirmed the new development on Friday as they presented Kenya Sevens rugby team with a new kit ahead of Cape Town Sevens this weekend.

“Yes, our partnership with rugby is back,” said Karauri without explaining further.

However, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla said the nitty-gritty of the deal will be known during the launch on Thursday next week.

The Kenya Sevens team was seen receiving their new kit at their hotel in Cape Town.

“Change comes…new kit,” said Kenya Sevens strength and conditioning coach Geoffrey Kimani, who shared the team photo with the new kit on his Facebook page.

“Thank you @SportPesa, @Kenya Sevens, timely and much appreciated,” said Kimani, who won the 2016 Singapore Sevens with the team.

SportPesa ventured into rugby when they sealed a five-year deal of Sh607 million with KRU towards the sponsorship of all the national teams.

However, the deal would collapse in 2019 when SportPesa pulled out of sports sponsorships in Kenya after a prolonged tax dispute with local authorities.

SportPesa makes a return at a time KRU has been reeling in financial crisis with Kenya Sevens team having gone for three months without salaries and allowances.  

The government stepped in to offset the team’s allowances for the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Kenya Simbas players boycotted training during the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final Qualification tournament last month in Dubai. 

The team’s allowances had not been paid dating back to two months.   

The boycott ended after Hemingways Collection donated Sh1.8 million for the allowances.

Kenya, who finished last at Hong Kong Sevens before improving to 11th place in Dubai last weekend, open their Cape Town quest against Argentina in Pool “C” at 3.22pm on Friday before taking on New Zealand and Spain at 10.07am and 3.26pm respectively on Saturday.

Cape Town is the third leg of the 2022/23 World Rugby Sevens Series where Kenya Sevens are placed 14th with six points. 

New Zealand and Argentina are placed seventh and eighth respectively even though they have 25 points each while Spain are a place above Kenya with eight points.

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