Macclesfield Rugby Club have recently been thanked by Kenya based Martin Flanagan for the kit donation they made to schools and orphanages in Kilifi, Kenya.
Flanagan moved to Kenya back in 2008 on a search for employment and ran out in the blue of Macclesfield on various occasions in the 70s before his rugby career was ended by injury.
Rugby in Kenya is very much a developing sport and the growth has been very much down to the success of the sevens team on the world tour. Flanagan believed the sport would be much further forward than it currently is but a lack of funding provides an unavoidable obstacle on the road to success. Sides struggle with the costs of travel and kit, so Flanagan was very grateful for Macc’s donation of kit and equipment.
“In Kilifi we have a university side and I’d like to start a club side, but as with most things in Kenya, cost is a major issue. Travel costs are high, and most of the players can not afford boots and socks, but now they have shirts. It is like a gift from heaven.”
Flanagan coaches in schools, orphanages and also travels between villages to teach the game. Ages range from 5-21 and says interest is at a high, with as many as 60 children turning up to some of the sessions.
“We have beach training for all age groups, most training sessions can range from 20 to 60 kids and at weekend you can have 5 sessions a day, and I get help from the university players to coach but with no TVs or Computers to distract we are the main attraction, we also feed the kids on a Sunday after training so they get a meal to start the week.”
Flanagan helps to organise tournaments in the local including the Watamu beach rugby competition which attracts the odd touring side from abroad. The touring sides get the chance to play in the three-day tournament and see some of the local sights.
“We do have a number of tournaments in the area most seven a side and the national league and the odd touring side,we also have an International beach rugby tournament which is an 3 day event in July with the availability of safari and the coastal beaches.”
Flanagan finished with a final thank you to those involved at Macclesfield Rugby Club, as their donation has made a lot of children 3000 miles away very, very happy.