A number of key figures in the World of Rugby have reacted to the sacking of Kenya Sevens coach Innocent Simiyu on Thursday June 21, 2018.
Simiyu parted ways with the Union for taking responsibility for Paris 7s fiasco that saw Kenya 7s players mask off sponsor's name due to unpaid dues.
Former Kenya 7s coach Mike Friday, who was left Kenya 7s after falling out with KRU, tweeted:
"KRU you are kidding me... Innocent Simiyu is a good man and leading the Shujaa fantastically well... he broke 100 series points and made two finals and the Shujaa Pride are RWC7s contenders."
In July 2013, Friday alongside his assistant Chris Brown, both now with USA 7s, resigned citing interference and unfulfilled promises from Kenya Rugby Union. They went ahead to win London 7s in 2015 and last season won Las Vegas 7s.
Former Kenya 7s strength and conditioning coach Graham Bentz, South African, was also shocked saying:
"Can someone in Kenya please take control of Kenya Sevens & take care of the union & the players. These boys are the most hardworking & talented, all they need is good governance & mentorship. Kenya 7s, concerned - another dispute. Plea for players!"
Graham worked under Paul Treu in 2014 before the latter resigned. Bentz remained behind with his countryman Vuyo Zangqa but would later sue KRU for wrongful dismissal after a new technical bench headed by Benjamin Ayimba was appointed in September 2015.
Former England captain Rob Vickerman, now a commentator at the World Sevens Series where he interacts with Kenya 7s every weekend, said:
"What a shame! Aside from the very bad timing pre RWC7’s, Innocent has been developing well as a coach."
Number one social media page for South Africa's Blitzboks, was angered by the development and wrote a letter to Kenya Sevens:
"In some sports, we always talk about 'a second team' when our own side and, say, a continental compatriot is concerned.
For many of our Blitzboks supporters on the World Rugby Sevens Series like me, Kenya Shujaa has been that team. When Kenya won their first series title in Singapore... many of us rejoiced with the Kenya boys.
So, whenever this nonsense around management and sponsors occur, it rather brings up a sour note for them as well as us who call them OUR second team.
And yes... this nonsense has been coming up very regularly from Kenya Rugby.
Word now from Kenya is that the country's Tourism ministry has withdrawn their substantial sponsorship after the team covered up the sponsor's logo at the recent Paris Sevens due to a payment dispute.
Today(Thursday)... the Kenya Sevens even failed to turn up for their first practice session ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.
I have all the sympathy for the players in their ongoing dispute with their "powers-that-be". At this stage of the series with a World Cup campaign looming, no team needs issues like this to deal with.
And therein lies the rub:
Whoever has been in this category over the past few years in Kenya are clearly NOT taking the cause of the players to heart. Neither are they 'qualified' to be in charge of rugby.
It's heartbreaking not only to the Shujaa players involved over the years(this is not new) but all their supporters... including us here in South Africa who see Kenya Sevens as our second team.
And yes, we all know that Shujaa can do even better under the current conditions. If the principals support and back them.
Please Kenya Rugby.
Mike Jansen -Blitzbokke.com