The Kenya Cup season moves into its seventh week this coming weekend with all teams seeking wins to boost their position as they fight for playoff spots continues. Kabras RFC from Kakamega currently tops the table 29 points winning all its six games.
The Kenyan rugby top tier league moved into this new season welcoming two new teams from the Western Circuit of the country showing the immense growth of Kenyan rugby. Both Kisumu RFC and Western Bulls met in the KRU Championship final this year, both sealing their places in the 2019/2020 Kenya Cup.
The promotion meant five teams in the twelve-team league (42%) will be based outside Nairobi, it has been the norm a few years ago where over 70% of the participating teams were based in the capital. Displacing both Nairobi based teams Mean Machine and Strathmore Leos, Kisumu RFC and Western Bulls only plan this season is to sustain themselves in the league as their front office management seeks to make things better with state of the team.
Sports has shown to the world that with a great structure and great Sports markets, touring and travelling will be of benefits in the industry. Take an example of the HSBC 7s series that takes place annually and is staged in 12 Cities (Including Women series). National teams are not only given a chance to play for points and showcase their talents but given a treat of travelling the world.
The Kenya Cup too will give both players and fans the treat to visit and explore different upcoming towns in Kenya. The league currently has Two teams based in Kakamega, One in Kisumu, and two in Nakuru. This means all the 7 teams based in Nairobi will travel week in week out.
(Distance showcased is from county-county, to and from only excluding distance within the county for teams in the same region)
Kabras RFC & Western Bulls will both have the highest mileage covered this coming season. Based in Kakamega, they will cover a distance estimate of 6103.86KM (Distance estimate county-county). Kisumu RFC based in Kisumu town will cover a total estimated distance of 5819.12KM throughout the league this season. The Nakuru based clubs (Menengai Oilers and Nakuru RFC) will cover a total distance of 3519.06KM each this season. Nairobi based clubs (inclusive Blakblad) will cover a distance of 2847KM each this season.
The Kenyan rugby space in Kenya continues to grow with expansions of teams playing in various sanctioned leagues. The league structure itself has enabled teams from across the country to have a chance to participate and fight their way through to earn a spot in the top tier league of the country.
The six regional leagues (Nationwide), the structure is slowly opening up various rugby markets in Kenya notably Western, Central and ever-competitive Nairobi region. Looking at these regional leagues, one will find the expansion of rugby in various counties and small towns located in Kenya. Touching newer markets will increase both fan base but most importantly a new crop of players to the league with different physical and mental strength.
Nairobi currently tops the market with 7 clubs in the Kenya Cup division, four in the championship tier and twenty clubs playing in the Nationwide divisions (Universities and Nairobi region). Kakamega is putting up a mighty push to secure more slots in the top tier division already having two (Kabras RFC and Western Bulls). Masinde Muliro University currently seats second in the championship and is in position for play-off promotion, if they continue with this trend, Kakamega will field three teams in Kenya Cup in the 2020/2021 season.
IS THE FUTURE FOR KENYAN RUGBY BRIGHT?
The answer is very bright. With great front office management, the future of rugby in our country is very bright, some clubs are struggling with player payments, player contracts, and low revenues throughout the season. This will be a thing of the past once-radical business managers pick up existing teams or expand new teams across the regional leagues in Kenya.
A future will come when clubs will not only compete for on-pitch but at the front office management. This future will displace mismanaged clubs and league structures that are infested with corrupt and none-performing managers. That future is very near, that future has already begun in smaller teams in lower-tier leagues that many people are not placing focus on currently.
Catch episode 2 of The Ruck next week and keep it 254Rugby. Thank You