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Championship sides petition Rugby Union to allow play-offs

By Gibo Zachary
Thursday, April 16th, 2020
A KRU Championship past action between Catholic Monks and Ngong Warriors. Photo/PD/GIBO ZACHARY
In summary

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Championship’s top six sides that had qualified for playoffs can breathe a sigh of relief as the Union is expected to renounce their early decision of nullifying the leagues due to the persistent coronavirus pandemic, after a section of teams expressed concerns.

The top six Championship sides have petitioned the Union to reconsider their early decision and allow the league playoffs to go on as early scheduled once the current situation of coronavirus is contained and things return to normal in the country.

Last week KRU made a decision to have the 2019-2020 season cancelled and have the status quo remain as if  it never took place.

The decision meant that no team will be relegated or prompted despite the fact that the league regular season approached its conclusion and some teams, especially the top two sides had already qualified to the semi-finals and only needed to win their semis to earn promotion while the bottom two sides had already sealed their fate and accepted relegation.

Strathmore Leos, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), Mean Machine, United States International University (USIU) Martials, Egerton Wasps RFC and Northern Suburbs had all qualified for playoffs after finishing in the top six positions by end of the regular season.

Team investments

League leaders Leos were unbeaten the entire season and were poised for promotion after 16 straight victories that saw the amass 76 points, while second placed MMUST who were playing in the league for the first team after being promoted from Nationwide League last season, had an incredible debut season winning 15 matches and losing only one match, a match they lost to the unbeaten Strathmore Leos.

All these efforts, hard work and teams investment had been thrown to the wind by the Union’s decision last week but speaking exclusively to People Sport, MMUST coach Ochieng Ahaya, said they are optimistic the Union will consider their recommendations and have the playoff completed at a later date.

“We’re still negotiating and the Union told us, we as the championship sides that were going for playoffs to agree if we want to go on with the playoffs.

So I think so far I am seeing the mood, everybody want us to continue even if it means in September so that we don’t go to next season before we conclude the playoffs and complete the current season,” said MMUST coach Ochieng Ahaya.

If the petition is accepted by KRU, it will mean that Kisumu RFC and Western Bulls will be relegated from the top league to create space for the promotion of two sides.

Ahaya blamed some people, he said, had vested interest to see their teams remain in the Kenya Cup and they knew they had already been relegated and they were not even in any playoffs.