Former KRU director promises rugby academies

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Famed Watembezi Pacesetters back Asiko “Bobu” Owiro would within two years of his tenure put in place eight Regional Centre of excellence for rugby if elected as Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman.

It’s at these Regional Centres that Owiro, in this five-year strategic plan, will have four rugby academies preferably in Nairobi, Western, Central and Mombasa.

Owiro, the former Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Rugby Club chairman, will challenge former KRU vice chairman Sasha Mutai, current KRU secretary general Oduor Gangla and director Ezekiel Owuor during the election that will be held next month.

“These centres and academies will form the pillar of rugby development in Kenya where we shall have and age group competitions that will get youth into the game,” said Owiro during his official launch of his campaign at Nairobi Club on Tuesday.

“Our agenda will be to grow rugby hence it will be our duty to retain these youthful both boys and girls through the phases from primary school to college level,” said Owiro, whose ultimate goal is to have Kenya Simbas participate at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and have Kenya Sevens permanently in top six at World Rugby Series.

Owiro said that he will form programs with key schools playing rugby to see how the union will help them grow the game, besides the academies and regional Centres of excellence.

Owiro, who was a director and acting KRU treasurer during George Kariuki’s tenure that ended in 2003, said he will also have advance programs for coaches and referees who play a key role in the development of game.

The 54-year-old Owiro, who retired from Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) where he was a director of logistics in June 2017, said that the state of rugby in the country is appalling and something drastic needs to be done to restore sanity.

Owiro noted that the division between senior Kenya Sevens players and the KRU board should not be happening if there was good leadership.

“We had referees also go on strike and what has actually held the Kenya Simbas together is good leaders from within,” said Owiro, who was flanked by former KRU secretary Frank Sabwa and former vice chairman Fred Odhiambo.

“We need senior players to reunite with the rest and take Kenya Sevens back to where it belongs,” said Owiro, adding that the ignored former players will also play a role in his administration.

For instance, Owiro singled out Michael “Tank” Otieno, who put him through the five-year strategic plan that has been on the shelves at KRU office for years.

“If these things are on paper, then we need to see them through to fruitions. If the problem is sponsorship then let that be my challenge,” said Owiro, adding that he has the muscle to rally back sponsors intro rugby.

Owiro was among the founding players at KCB Rugby Club in 1989 and played for Kenya Simbas, Mean Machine, Impala and later KCB as a fullback and winger.

Owiro featured for Kenya at the 1987 Nairobi Africa Games and retired from Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), where he was a director of logistics in June 2017,

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