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Troubled Shujaa land multi-million sponsorship from SportPesa

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SportPesa boss Ronald Karauri with Shujaa captains Nelson Oyoo and Vincent Onyala
  • SportPesa has sponsored Shujaa for Sh126mn
  • The company returns to rugby after three years
  • Shujaa had been without a sponsor for three years

Betting firm SportPesa has splashed a Sh126mn sponsorship for the national sevens team Shujaa, bailing them out after a troubled past three years. Shujaa had been struggling financially and last month, the players came out on social media to beg for funds to help offset allowances before the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the World Sevens Series.

But now, they have a reason to smile with SportPesa splashing Sh126mn over a period of three years, an amount that will go a long way in enabling them improve their performance.

“We have a very good relationship with rugby and we were comfortably working with them until 2019 when the company was forced to fold. But we are glad to be back because we really believe in the team and we hope that moving forward with SportPesa on the front of the shirt, we will keep improving,” said SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri.

He added; “We will make sure that player welfare is very well taken care of because when the team shines, the brand shines and the country shines as well.”

KRU excited with SportPesa return

Sportpesa boss Ronald Karauri receives the Shujaa home kit from skipper Nelson Oyoo

Kenya Rugby Union boss Oduor Gangla was also excited with the return of the sponsorship and says it is a huge relief that the Union’s biggest asset is finally financed.

“We are grateful for SportPesa coming back to the team. The focus of the sponsorship will be really to ensure we look after the players. We will prioritize that aspect to look out for the key resource in the team,” said Gangla.

Meanwhile, coach Damian McGrath was also delighted with the sponsorship, saying his work as a tactician has been greatly hampered due to off field issues that have drawn the focus away from the team.

“With SportPesa now on board, the expectation is that we will now be paid our salaries on time and focus more on the rugby. This will now allow us to compete on equal footing with world series leaders,” added the tactician.

Coach calls on Union to invest more in preparation

Sportpesa boss Ronald Karauri receives the Shujaa away kit from assistant captain Vincent Onyala

McGrath has now called on the Union to invest the Sh126mn from SportPesa well to add in more facilities to enable the team perform at a high level.

“We are trying to compete on equal terms with countries with more resources and facilities which allow players to perform better. Look at KRU, we have a gym that is not even fit and a field that we can hardly use. If we can use the resources from Sportpesa well, we can improve our performance,” he added.

Shujaa have had a troubled start to the season and have so far picked only nine points in three legs. They sit 14th in the standings having amassed a single point from Hong Kong, five in Cape Town and three in Dubai.

The coach however believes that with a better financial plan and more focus now on the field, the team will improve in the next leg of the series in Hamilton, New Zealand.

He has however admitted that the work is cut out for them, especially noting that they will be pooled against tougher teams due to the poor start of the season.

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