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Kenya rugby team flew Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyans are livid

Ethiopian Airlines won bragging rights after it flew the Kenya National Rugby Team to Paris, France ahead of major clashes that will decide who plays in the 2019 rugby world cup.

“We recently had the pleasure to fly the Kenya National Rugby Team to one of their games in Paris. The Simbas (as they’re known) are currently ranked twenty-eighth in the World Rugby Rankings and will play Canada, Hong Kong and Germany for World Cup slot. Good luck, Simbas!” wrote the airline in a veiled dig at rivals, Kenya Airways.

KQ were once main sponsors of rugby sevens and had their 15 minutes of fame last week with the launch of the inaugural direct flights from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

From Paris, Kenya Simbas proceeded to Bucharest, Romania where they leave this afternoon for Marseille, France.


Kenya, Canada, Hong Kong and Germany will compete each other, with the winner qualifying for Japan 2019 as the final participant.

All matches will be played on November 11, 17 and 23. The winner will join Pool B, along with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia. The 2019 world cup will be held in Japan in September.

Typically, Kenyans would have expected the national team players to fly Kenya Airways in line with the much publicized government policy of last year.

In September last year, the government unveiled what it called a cost-saving strategy that allows all sports teams representing the country on international assignments to fly Kenya Airways.


RELATED STORY: All Kenyan national teams now to fly KQ

This one year renewable deal, estimated to be worth Sh4 billion, was unveiled by the Principal Secretary for Sports, Peter Kaberia.

The move was also expected to boost the shrinking financial revenues of the national flag carrier.

“Sports in Kenya is pride in itself and it will be fulfilling when these athletes alight from a flight branded the ‘Pride of Africa’,” said Kaberia.

However, sources said Kenya Simbas are on a World Rugby (WR) event and the union has no say.

“WR funds everything. A total of 45 tickets and accommodation in Marseille,” explained the source.

But Kenyans on Facebook camped ET’s page to demand answers from KQ.

Vitalis Machu said: “Kenya Airways Can you please explain this to me even using a diagram? What a shame!”


Reuben Oroko added: “Kudos to Ethiopian airlines. Smart marketing. KQ lamba lolo.”

Brian Magwaro added: “KQ prices have made the simbas ran away. Even the government fear its plane kudos Ethiopian airways will fly you soon.”

Barbara Precious said; “I know the fares are really competent and very attractive give that to our brothers especially for international flights but KQ isn’t far now and better services too Kenyan pride.”