Kenya Rugby Union chairman Oduor Gangla in a past press conference. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Sports federation bosses have welcomed President Uhuru Kenyattta’s directive on the resumption of sporting activities in the country strictly in compliance with the Ministries of Health and Sports guidelines.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa and his Kenya Rugby Union counterpart Oduor Gangla both said the recent order will not only play a vital role in national teams’ preparations for international assignments but also ensure their respective leagues are played to conclusion.

The President gave the greenlight on the return to action of sports in adherence with the Covid-19 protocols during the Labour Day Celebrations in Nairobi. Sports was suspended for the second time on March 26 due to the surge in coronavirus infections thus affecting all sporting activities in the country.

The suspension came just when the FKF Premier League was taking shape with each team having played at least 14 matches (three less than halfway mark), while KRU’s Kenya Cup League was in round five.

But with Harambee Stars, Harambee Starlets (football), Kenya Simbas and Chipu (Kenya U20) all set to participate in international competitions, the federation officials are ready to hit the ground running.

While Stars and Starlets are set to kick off their World Cup qualifiers in June, Simbas are scheduled to camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa the same month ahead of their Rugby Africa Cup encounters against Senegal and Zambia in July.  Chipu are set to feature in the U20 Barthés Trophy slated for June 24-July 4 in Nairobi.

Harambee Stars are expected to host Uganda in Group E tie of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers on the weekend of 5-6 before flying out to Rwanda the following weekend.

And according to the FKF president, the reopening will not only help them prepare the national teams adequately for upcoming assignments but also ensure their league which was cancelled last season continue aligning with the Fifa calendar.

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“We need to return to action because of the tough international assignments lying ahead of us. We are actually behind schedule. But since we were following the guidelines before the suspension and we have now vaccinated all the players, the important thing right now is to ensure our players are fit and ready,” said Mwendwa.

“All our opponents (Uganda, Rwanda and Mali) don’t have lockdowns and their leagues are active, that’s why we want to resume our league tentatively on May 12. This means, we have shelved our plans of camping outside the country. We have been observing the Covid-19 protocols and we will continue doing that.”

KRU chairman Oduor Gangla said: “The decision is very positive and one that we welcome. As KRU, we complied with the past guidelines in full and remain confident we can play within the provided guidance. This is a welcome boost particularly for our national teams like Simbas and Chipu which have international events.”

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