- The team lost all its matches at the World Cup qualification tournament
- The team has faced difficult times with players downing their tools in Dubai
- Odera has been in charge of the team for three years
Paul Odera has resigned as the Kenya Simbas head coach shortly after the team lost its third match at the World Cup Repechage tournament in Dubai.
The Simbas were beaten 22-18 by Hong Kong in their last match via last minute try, having earlier suffered heavy defeats to USA (68-14) and Portugal (85-0).
The team’s camp since their Africa Cup qualification has been tumultuous and it went from bad to worse just before the Hong Kong game when the players downed their tools and refused to train due to non-payment of their allowances.
And now, the team will be in search of a new coach with Odera walking away from the team, also after facing a difficult spell in his three years in charge.
Leave judgement to other people
“I cannot say whether my leadership or coaching of The Simbas has been good or bad. This judgment I leave to the players I coached, my coaching staff and those who have been intimately involved with the team,” Odera said in his resignation letter.
He added; “However, what I do know is that I gave everything to serve the country. I looked into the future and came up with a vision to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023. Sadly, we have failed to qualify for the World Cup and I take accountability for the on field results.”
The tactician has however said that the failure to qualify for France 2023 was not purely on sporting merit, and pointed out that off field issues had a huge role to play in the team’s misgivings.
The tactician’s three-year reign in the team has been equally tumultuous. At one point, the Union had announced that he had resigned, only for the former Chipu coach to deny the claims. The Union went on to stand by that fact, leading to a Court battle.
Went to Court over apparent sacking
Odera went to the Labour Court and after some hearings, a decision was made to let him continue coaching the team.
“It has been an interesting journey with challenges and highs and lows. Such is the nature of sport and the game that we love, rugby. If it was too easy, we wouldn’t know the joy of achieving our goals and the pleasure of knowing we worked hard to make them happen,” the coach said.
Odera went on to thank everyone who had supported him during his time at the helm of the team, including those who financially bailed out the Simbas over the last few months as financial problems mounted.
“To the Kenya Rugby Union Board and the Chairman, Oduor Gangla, thank you for the opportunity to coach the Simbas in a unique environment that has stretched my coaching, leadership and management skills,” Odera concluded in his resignation letter.