The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has re-introduced player cards for all players within their competition pyramid before the start of the new 15's season that rolls off on Saturday 17 November, 2018.
Further, the Union has streamlined the transfer process of players prior and during the season. These includes players across clubs, from outside the country, those from clubs to Educational institutions, Academy players and those on loan.
Nondies, MKU Thika cases
Speaking to Raga House, KRU Technical Director Thomas Odundo revealed that several cases in recent years where clubs complained of their players turning out for other clubs without being released informed review of the entire process.
"We have been having too many cases of players turning out for more than one team within the season. In other cases some clubs have complained of some of their players featuring for other teams within the season without going through the formal transfer process,"
"We are now putting order to the process before the season kicks off to bring an end to those complaints and we are hopeful of 100% uptake from all clubs." said Odundo
As a case in point, Kenya Cup side Nondescripts were docked ten points in January this year from two wins over Strathmore Leos and Mombasa RFC for fielding two 'ineligible' players Francis Mutuku and Ernest Ngong who joined from Kabras. The two had come on board alongside another Kabras pair Fidel Oloo and Levy Ochieng as well as Moses Begi, Mark Ongayo and Franz Obudo from Blak Blad.
An official statement from KRU said fielding of the two was 'contrary to the provisions of the K.R.U regulations'. The club appealed the stripping of points and in mid February were re-awarded the same ten points.
Later in April MKU Thika hit Kiambu RFC 25-14 at JKUAT to win the central Nationwide league but were stripped off their crown after being found guilty of fielding an 'ineligible' player Morgan Rangita. The player in question is said to have earlier on turned out for KCB in an Eric Shirley Shield tie against their Impala counterparts. Their title was awarded to Kiambu RFC.
Many other undertones have always indicated how clubs especially in the nationwide have used 'mercenaries' to gain undue advantage during playoff games.
Captured in a collective manual dubbed regulation 14, incidents such as the above should be a thing of the past, should the rule book be followed to the letter.
"A player must hold effective Registration and have a serialized KRU card to play for a Club in a KRU competition. No player shall be allowed to play unless they present a valid players card on any match day." excerpt 14.2 of the manual states.
As captured in 14.3.5 of the same manual, a player cannot be registered by more than a club at a time and not more than two in any season. A player on loan cannot be registered by the same club more than three times after the opening day of the season.
In making it crystal clear on player cards, the Union has also gone ahead to confirm the period within which acquisition of the cards should be done.
"A Club must apply for a Player to become Effectively Registered before the Transfer Deadline. The Transfer Deadline is two (2) weeks prior to the start of a new season."
Also read Kenya Cup transfer window open
Waiting period has been set at five and seven (business) days for a player within a club, and one transferring to another club, respectively.
"For the avoidance of doubt the Waiting Period must have been completed before the Transfer Deadline has reached." says the manual
To serve as a definitive guide to all interested parties, KRU will publish the Official register of players seven days to the start of any season.
Article 14.4.1 sums it by saying; "The Player Register shall be maintained by KRU and is the only conclusive evidence of a player’s effective registration on any particular date. KRU shall retain all supporting documents of the Registration of each player."
On Academy players, the rule book states that all must be registered at KRU by duly filling in Academy Player registration Form signed by an authorized club official. It must be accompanied by Parental or Legal Guardian Consent.
On Players on Education Transfer, rule 14.9 states; "Players who have moved from their clubs to a learning institution for the purpose of studying can play for the institution until completion of his/her studies after which the player shall return back to his/her club unless a full transfer has been negotiated by both the current club and the learning institution. Such movement shall happen during the transfer windows.”
On overseas players, a foreign player wishing to be effectively registered with a Club must show evidence of completing the World Rugby Regulation 4 process in his home union. Players from Countries where Kenya has a ‘No Work Permit required arrangement’, (e.g. Uganda and Rwanda) the application for registration must be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to KRU that the Player meets the requirements to play without those documents.