Kenya Simbas land mega sponsorship ahead of trip to France for World Cup qualifiers

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Just a few days after launching a passionate appeal for funds, the national rugby 15s team Kenya Simbas have landed a mega Sh10mn sponsorship from Teita Sisal Estate through their brand Hildana Lodges.

Hildana will be displayed on the front of the SIMBAS jerseys as they play their 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Marseille France, with a shot at history on their hands.

“For us as a company its an honor to partner with the Kenya Simbas and the KRU. The investment in the sport has really grown in terms of the partnership between us and the Union. We hope that what we have invested in the team will boost them as they look to qualify for the first time ever,” said Jimmy Munene, a representative of Hildana Lodges who presented the sponsorship to the Union on Tuesday.

According to Kenya Rugby Union boss Oduor Gangla, the team had a budget of Sh22mn for the qualifiers to be staged in France and the Sh10mn from Hildana will go a long way in offsetting some of their expenses.

“I am very grateful to Teita Sisal Estate and the Hildana Lodge for this sponsorship. It has been a very difficult journey. We have spent so far close to SH50mn to get ready. I thank Teita for coming through for this final leg. Without them we would have been in a very difficult spot. This money goes to real expenses that the team needs,” Gangla said.

He has also called on well wishers to continue raising funds for the team through the M-Changa and Till Numbers given to enable them to compete perfectly without financial hitches.

LR: Kenya Rugby Officials Joshua Aroni, John Kilonzo, chairman Oduor Gangal and Kenya SIMbas head coach Paul Odera (right) receive the sponsorship dummy check from Hildana representative Jimmy Munene. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“We are very transparent with everything we do and that is one thing that we promised when we started this fund raiser. The funds are coming in to a dedicated KRU account and we want to urge all partners and fans to continue supporting the team,” Gangla added.

Head coach Paul Odera says he is excited with the sponsorship coming in for the SIMbas and thanked Hildana for their support just as they did in 2019, supporting the Chipu as they headed to Brazil for the World Junior Trophy.

“It is truly humbling when people make a commitment to support their team on this journey. The relationship with Hildana started in 2019. We formed a group called the Friends of Simbas and their commitment has been that Kenya qualifies for the World Cup. These are very committed people who are always willing to support the team,” Odera said.

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The team jets out of Nairobi early Wednesday morning on a 1am flight to Paris, before proceeding to Marseille where the qualifiers kick off on Saturday.

Kenya faces neighbors Uganda in the quarter finals and both coach Odera and KRU boss Gangla are confident the team has what it takes to start well and go all the way to clinch a place at the World Cup next year.

Hildana representative Jimmy Munene signs the sponsorship dummy check. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We are sending out a group of men who are going out there to carry the flag in a very difficult competition. I believe they are ready. Those young men work very hard. They are very committed and their eyes are on the prize. They are very humble and passionate. They will make Kenya proud and we will qualify,” a buoyant Gangla said.

Head coach Odera added; “Our aim is to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever. It will not be easy, but we are confident and very clear that if we play according to how we have prepared, this team has the ability to contest with the best teams from the African continent.”

The team has been together in camp for the last 16 weeks, 11 of those being in South Africa where they played in the prestigious Currie Cup before playing two more matches at home and rounding off with one week of residential training.

Kenya is seeking a first ever qualification to the Rugby World Cup and the team travels in confidence that they are better prepared than yester years to clinch the coveted spot.

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