The question of how smaller rugby unions treat their players has been highlighted by the problems three Kenya players have faced after being injured during the Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in Marseille in November last year.
The situation has been complicated by the KRU claiming a delay in treatment was caused by their insurance cover but World Rugby confirmed to RugbyPass that the governing body’s insurance was in place for the matches.
Besides concerns over the treatment of their players, the Kenya Rugby Union have yet to pay player allowances from the Marseille games as they are facing on-going financial problems which have also impacted on their Sevens squad.
The back-row duo of Dalmus Chituyi and KCB’s Martin Owilah and hooker Coleman Were were injured when Kenya took on Germany, Hong Kong and Canada in a bid to qualify for Rugby World Cup. The three players are yet to play for their respective clubs as surgery has been delayed following a problem with availability of surgeons and the Union’s insurance cover which ended in December.
Chituyi told Nation Sport that he is still waiting for surgery on a torn knee meniscus while KCB’s Owilah, who damaged his left knee cartilage, is not happy at how Kenya Rugby Union have handled their cases. “I am told there are issues with insurance but I think things should have been handled better,” he said.,
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KRU director of rugby Thomas Odundo said there have been various reasons for the delay in the treatment of the players, claiming there was an unavailability of surgical specialists and insurance cover complications. However, he revealed that Chituyi and Were due to undergo surgery and Owilah will have his procedure on February 19.
Odundo said after the tournament in France, the players could not be treated as specialists at the Kijabe Hospital were not available. “The year ended without securing an appointment since most of the doctors were only available after Christmas festivities,” said Odundo. “What complicated things is that the insurance cover for the players elapsed at the end of December last year.”.
Odundo said the technicalities have already been addressed with the insurance firm and the players will get treated with the a likely recovery period of up to five months. Odundo confirmed Kenya Simbas salaries had been paid, although match fees still had to be sorted out.”They also need to be sincere since we have paid their salaries and we shall offset their allowances immediately we get funds. As we said earlier, the Union is experiencing a financial crunch,” added Odundo.
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