The Kenya Rugby Union board has fired Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu.
Sources told the Star that Simiyu took responsibility for players who refused to display the Brand Kenya sponsorship logo during a game in Paris two weeks ago.
He gatecrashed a disciplinary meeting on Tuesday saying he would take the fall.
Earlier on Thursday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala canceled a Sh20 million sponsorship deal between Brand Kenya and the Kenya Rugby Union.
A furious Balala accused the union of not paying the Kenya Sevens players their allowances during the Paris Sevens earlier this month. As a result, they blocked the sponsors’ logo ‘Make It Kenya’.
Balala observed: “Kenya Tourism Board is using the athletes to promote and market destinations. What they did was very embarrassing. I am not happy about it.”
He went on to say: “How can a Kenyan go to an international activity and cover Brand Kenya? How, even if you have a problem with your organisation?
“That was not Brookside or Tusker, or Safaricom. It was Make It Kenya! That name there is your country’s, your motherland which made you what you are,”the Minister said at a Mombasa Hotel during the Kenya Association of Hotel-keepers and Caterers symposium.
The players noted that they were to receive Sh100,000 each, for taking part in photo-shoot before departure to the final two legs of the world series (London and Paris), but that this was not the case.
Balala instructed them to get in touch with Acting Brand Kenya Chief Executive Officer Floice Mukabana to get their dues.
Brand Kenya had remitted Sh4 million to the union as the first share to cater for the players’ allowances and miscellaneous requirements.
Sources have however revealed that, when the money hit the union’s account, part if it was swallowed by an overdraft while some was used to pay outstanding debts and facilitate training camps for the Kenya 15s team in Nanyuki.
Balala said there will be no more funding from the government for rugby in the wake of the fiasco with Brand Kenya.
Speaking yesterday from Toronto, Canada, KRU chairman Richard Omwela termed the move unfortunate.
“We have started disciplinary proceedings on some of the players and are looking at making changes in the team due to what happened in Paris,” said Omwela.
The move will affect Shujaa’s preparations for the upcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens in USA from July 20-22.