Kenya Rugby Union has begun designing a Talent Identification Programme that will enable the union monitor current school games and clubs to flag potential players.
The program is part of KRU’s bigger plan of establishing a larger pool of future young stars through an age-grade rugby system.
“Initially the plans will be to identify, develop and support potential players in U20 and U18 divisions and increasing number of high quality playing opportunities to expose the youngsters to national and international standards,” said Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Alexander ‘Sasha’ Mutai.
He added, “ We want to set the ball rolling for revival of the Kenya Schools Combined Team programme and are upbeat of the impending success of Kenyan rugby through the initiative.”
Mutai expressed confidence in Kenya’s Under 20 team, Chipu’s huge potential showcased in the just concluded World Under 20 Rugby Trophy tournament- emphasizing the need to expose the players to high-pressure and competitive tournaments.
He described the Tournament as a very top level test for Chipu players who had warmed up for just a month and competed against opponents who had been training for over a year for the battle.
“The tournament has taught us very crucial lessons we are keen to urgently address. Our youngsters put up a good performance and in every game they recorded significant improvements in both attacks and defense. They had the power and grit to push harder in most first halves but could not sustain the pressure to the end to deliver victory,” said Mutai.
The Union also described the global showpiece as a great success for Kenya’s sports tourism, the government collaborative efforts through steadfast support and a board that has been in office for just three months.
“ We are extremely proud to have delivered a smooth and highly competitive global event without incidences and disruptions and this affirms to the country’s readiness to host global sporting events. It also affirms the success that comes with collaborative partnerships that this new board will continue to embrace, with all public and private partners ,” said Kenya Rugby Union Commercial Director, Harriet Okach.
She added, “Again, we express appreciation for Kenyan government’s, World Rugby and Rugby Africa’s support in making the tournament a success and lifting the spirits of our young sporting talents.”
Okach said the board will soon be reaching out to corporates for support on the next phase of developing young talents, affirming their commitment to deliver returns on investments extended by partners.
World Rugby Under 20 Chief Executive Officer, Ian Mugambi said, “The event was highly successful. Everything had been put in place in time, meeting the entire requirement that World Rugby requires. The Union also made significant efforts to bring in the fans including a ticket sales drive and ensuring safety of players by enhancing their security during national protests.”
National 15s Squads Director, Moses Mukabane said, “The new plans will bridge the player growth gap by fortifying rugby development pathways from age-grade in primary schools to junior competition levels in High school (U18) system. Focus is more on the process than outcome for this period.”