By: AYUMBA AYODI
Three times Kenya Cup champion the University of Nairobi are just but a pale shadow of their former self.
The varsity sides, popularly known as Mean Machine, no longer fires on all cylinders. Their pistons are clogged and their cogs lethargic.
Will they ever rise up from the dust and challenge the big wigs of rugby the way they did in yesteryears?
That was the question over the weekend as the stuttering Machine soaked in nine tries in a 56-0 loss to Strathmore Leos in a Kenya Cup match at the Impala Sports Club.
NO SUPPORT FROM VARSITY MANAGEMENT
With little support from the varsity management, things at Machine’s camp have virtually grounded to a halt.
There is no training equipment or proper grounds, and no allowances for the students.
The team has not trained well for the last month after the varsity management leased out their famous grounds to be used during Pope Francis’s visit to Nairobi.
According to team coach Phelim Kidakwa, they actually have a small area within the grounds which is inadequate for any useful training.
Ferrying players from Kikuyu and Kabete campus to the main grounds and for matches has become a tricky issue as the varsity bus has not been made available to the players.
“Kabete and Kikuyu campuses have our best players, but we just can’t ferry them to Nairobi for training since there is no transport,” Kidakwa lamented. “If I am to get 10 players today I won’t have the same players in the next session.”
Kidakwa said he has had no consistency in training, lacks tackle bags and a scrum machine.
He explained that the players could not train well with the small space available at the varsity grounds.
“We haven’t been given an alternative ground after the main ground was taken up for the Papal visit,” Kidakwa said. “You can’t achieve results without the scrum machine and tackle bags. Players have to dig into their pockets to come for training.”
Kidakwa now wants the Kenya Rugby Union to intervene and help them out.
Mean Machine won Kenya Cup in 1977, 1989 and 1990 and have over the years lit up the local rugby scene with their exciting, running game.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION