Business Daily (Nairobi)

5 January 2011

Kenya: Rugby Officials in Quest for Result-Driven Team Managers

The KCB rugby team has parted ways with coach Michael "Tank" Otieno after club officials failed to renew his contract on grounds of a poor run of form.

The move underlines the quest by club and country for result oriented management of teams as professionalism knocks on local rugby's door.

"The committee decided not to renew my contract," said Mr Otieno on Kenya Commercial Bank's decision which was communicated to him in a letter dated December 22.

"Maybe they were blaming me for being number four after the first leg."

The letter, signed by club chairman Sadik Makii, read: "The KCB rugby club committee has agreed to restructure the coaching set up of the club and has decided not to renew your contract for the 2011 period." Howard Okwemba and Derrick Wamalwa took over in an interim capacity.

KCB currently lies fourth in the Kenya Cup league - the local 15s rugby league - with 22 points which sees them trail league leaders Quins by 13 points.

Mr Otieno was on a two-year contract with the bankers which ended last August.

Although he has taken charge of the team in the 2010/2011 season, which begun in October last year, people familiar with the committee said it was on an interim basis.

Mr Otieno did not disclose the terms of the contract, but sources close to the committee say he earned Sh360,000 annually for a position which he does on a part time basis.

He is a full time lecturer in the Physical Education Department of the University of Nairobi.

The bankers have lost three crucial games to the top rated Quins Impala and Mwamba in the current 2010/2011 season, hence piling pressure on their coach to deliver results.

Two of the defeats were at the bankers' once dreaded "Lions Den" in Ruaraka.

Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were in search of fresh ideas which would see the bankers return to a more competitive form, especially against the top clubs.

Step down

The 2010 season was played under a format where the top four teams, after a round of seven games, went into the semi finals with the winners proceeding into the finals. KCB reached the finals but handed Quins the trophy on a silver platter.

The bankers dramatically collapsed against Quins losing 21 - 26 after leading 3 - 21 at half time when the trophy seemed to be in their bag.

Last December, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) advertised for the post of the national 15s rugby coach, a position which coincidentally was held by Mr Otieno.

KRU said they were looking for a coach who would "provide leadership in the creation of strategic, tactical and technical plans for Kenya 15s".

The new tactician, who had to be certified as an International Rugby Board Level 2 coach, had to oversee the management structures and revenue generation of the squad.

With regards to the national 15 a side team duties, Mr Otieno said it was his decision to step down from the post.

"I have been coaching since 2007," Mr Otieno said of his role as the national team coach. "I felt it was time to give another person a chance."

Highlights in his career as coach saw the national 15-a-side team beat Uganda in Kampala and come from behind to sink Zimbabwe in Harare in the Victoria Cup series.

There were a number of challenges though, which included players doubling up as national seven aside players, equipment missing, and lack of good enough support from the union, Mr Otieno said.

On his next move he said; "I do not think am really going to coach," adding that he was looking to working on his doctorate degree.

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