USIU-Africa places second in international rugby tourney
The USIU-Africa men's rugby team pose for a group photo with the Associate DVC(Student Affairs) Dr. Josephine Arasa and Dean of Students Mr. Robert Onsarigo, when the team received a cheque for KES 75000 for emerging second at the international Kings of Rugby tournament held in Kisumu from October 7-8. From left: Kimanzi Marty (APT Sophomore), Charles Kuka (IR Sophomore), Joseph Kagima (IBA Senior), Nyote Wakanyote (IBA Sophomore), Joe Awori (IR Freshman), Dennis Lusweti (APT Freshman), Philip Baya (IBA Freshman), Wilfred Odhiambo (IBA Junior), Kumbirai Matongo (IR Junior), Junior Onyango (IR Junior), Kevin Munene (IBA Freshman), Eliud Mulakoli (IR Sophomore), Javan Oyombi (Journalism Sophomore), Martin Jeremy (IR Freshman), Derrrick Obiero (IBA Sophomore), Prince Mwendwa (IBA Freshman), Martin Juma (IR Freshman), Geoffrey Kiragu (IST Freshman) and Mike Kimwele (IBA Freshman).
By Dan Muchai & Antonio Longangi
USIU-Africa’s men's rugby team emerged second during the international edition of the King of Rugby Tournament this Sunday, October 8 at Maseno University in Kisumu. The team lost to the University of Johannesburg 24-14, with Mike Kimwele and Joe Awori scoring a try each, with were then converted by Charles Kuka.
The loss caps an otherwise stellar campaign which began Saturday, October 7 when they beat Technical University of Mombasa (24-19), followed by Multimedia University (30-nil). to propel them to the quarter-finals against Daystar University. The squeezed through with a slim 7-5 margin to face Mount Kenya University, whom they defeated 21-19 to proceed to the final.
According to the team captain Junior Onyango, they were quite happy to prove its naysayers wrong, advancing through the tournament without a single loss. “In Kisumu, even though the crowd was pulling for the University of Johannesburg, I was so proud that my team and I represented USIU-Africa and Kenya so successfully, and against such a superior team.”
The team intents to donate some of the KES75000 winners earnings to a charity of their choice, later this semester, in line with one of the university’s core values of service to the community.
Back in July, the team lifted the Kenya Universities Sports Association Rugby League trophy with a 13-point gap between them and Kenyatta University.
The team attributes its success to the strength and conditioning program and their coach’s determination to nurture young talent. This is especially important given that the team lost members who graduated this Fall as members of the Class of 2017.
Anticipating this loss, the team recruited five new freshmen from the Class of 2021, who already had previous experience at high school level. New members are taken through a rigorous training program involving fitness, ballwork, and team building activities.
A strength and conditioning program run by a specialized trainer Mr. Thomas Lagat, out of the new dedicated Sports Strength and Training Gym on the second floor of the Freida Brown Student Center, has helped the team maintain peak levels of physical fitness.
Mr. Dennis Mwanja the team coach believes his team is ready for the coming Kenya Rugby Union Championship League, which is expected to commence at the end of November. According to him, USIU-Africa has become a force to be reckoned with, and will not be an underdog during the rest of the national sevens circuit.
Despite the semi-finals loss during the Sepetuka Sevens held September 30-31 at the Eldoret Sports Club, the team looks forward to much better results in Kisumu for the Dala Sevens leg of the sevens circuit on October 21-22 at the Mamboleo showground.
- Written by Dan Muchai