CS Namwamba flags off Lionesses squad to Dubai 7s
Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Ababu Namwamba on Wednesday flagged off Kenyan Lioness Rugby team to Dubai to take part in Dubai Sevens International Invitational Women's Tournament.
The CS assured the team of the government's support, encouraging them to put in a good performance in the tournament.
"Go to the tournament and focus on only one thing, to fly the Kenyan Flag high. Be assured that all your allowances will be paid to you directly," he said.
The Lionesses commended the CS for making the trip possible.
"We are grateful as a team for the effort that you have made to ensure that we travel and participate in the tournament.
"This is really a special moment for us, and we promise you good performance from the tournament," said the team captain.
The Lionesses' trip to Dubai was made possible by CS Namwamba’s intervention, which also saw the resolution of the allowances impasse that had plagued the Kenya Sevens team.
The CS has warned of dire consequences to federations that take players' welfare for granted.
Namwamba on men's rugby team
Namwamba on Tuesday, November 29 said he was shocked to learn that Kenya Rugby 7s players were appealing to Kenyans to help raise funds to settle pending bills.
Speaking during an interview with NTV, the CS while stating that he met with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) regarding the mishaps, and faulted the union for not attending to the needs of the players.
"I was totally shocked. I could not believe that our players were doing M-Changa on social media," he stated.
"I quickly invited the Kenya Rugby Union and we had a very candid conversation about taking responsibility, let me commend the union for taking responsibility because they know on this they dropped the ball because of poor planning," he added.
Further, the CS affirmed that he had issued a directive that the allowances of the players were processed effective immediately.
"I did give a directive today( Monday, November 28, 2022) for allowances to be processed immediately, and so I do expect that from tomorrow (today, November 29, 2022) I expect those allowances to be ready," he stated.
On Sunday, November 27, 2022, Kenya Sevens players took to social media to ask for donations from well-wishers.
The Shujaa players, led by veteran Willy Ambaka and Billy Odhiambo, claimed that they were struggling owing to a lack of pay, with Ambaka noting that it had been three months since they were last paid by the Kenya Rugby Union.
The players stated that they were unable to provide for their families and that their only alternative was to come forward and ask for assistance.
The players then shared an M-PESA pay bill number which was used to contribute funds and the contributions can also be made online via M-Changa.
"Greeting to the Kenya 7s Family! As some of you may have heard we are now going on our third month without pay. Our lives and those of our loved ones have been greatly strained, even in our persistent effort to give you the desired outcomes on the pitch," Ambaka tweeted.
"As we continue to train hard, we have had to deal with the daily life challenges of bills by digging through our savings and the efforts of a few local and international well-wishers."
"Our desperate situation has now forced us to turn to you, our global community to help us in raising funds. The money raised will be split among the boys to help settle some of our pending bills - We need your assistance," he added.
"To make your contribution, kindly click on the link below to access the Kenya 7s M-Changa fundraiser or send your contribution to: M-PESA Paybill no: 891300 Account Number: 60365 Support Kenya 7s | M-Changa," his post concluded.
Their plight attracted the attention of a section of Kenyans who contributed as directed.
Notable politicians such as Nairobi Senator pledged to raise Ksh100,000 and revealed that he had raised the issue at the senate.
"I will start you off with 100k. We are proud of the work you are doing despite the difficulties. I have also raised this matter in Senate and last week the matter was taken up by the relevant committee. Help is on the way, hang in there. Ababu Namwamba hizi ni gani?," Sifuna tweeted.