By John Lawrence
The adjectival flourish that accompanies Kenya’s Sevens Rugby team is hard to ignore: they were once giant killers and have now graduated to majestic world-beaters, often lighting up the stage in the IRB circuit.
But that’s enough (for now) guys. Today The Nairobian gives Mike Friday’s boys a break and ushers in perhaps the sexiest players to ever grace the rugby pitch.
The Confederation of African Rugby recently selected the Kenyan beauties to take part in the continent’s Top Four tournament.
The Chairman of Kenya Rugby Union, Mwangi Muthee, describes the girls as a team ‘beaming with hope and immense talent’ “The team is still raw, but growing at a very good rate. My dream is to make them the biggest in Africa. We as a union would like to see them match our boys’performance,” Muthee says.
The ladies are currently undergoing training in Tunisia ahead of the games that begin on April 22. The Nairobian caught up with them just before they took their flight to Tunis.
Name: Mary Otieno Age: 34: Club: Mwamba Relationship status: In a relationship A graduate from the Technical University of Kenya, Mary works with Car & General (K) Ltd.
Her love for rugby dates back to her days in high school. “I have loved rugby for a verylong time because I believe that it is a great sport that instills discipline and dedication to those who play it,” says Mary. Her desire is to help build women’s rugby in Kenya. “I would love to be a referee and if possible coach young players,” she says.
Name: Mary Musieka Age: 29 Club: Rovers Relationship status: Single to Mary, rugby is all about passionand enjoyment. She did not have much passion for the game in high school. “After my secondary education at Huruma Girls, I started participating actively in rugby,” says Mary. She considers the Tunis tournament a learningopportunity.
Name: Doreen Remour Age: 28 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: In a relationship The SSD High School alumnus traces her love for rugby from her days as a staunch supporter of the men’s Mwamba Rugby Club.
Name: Janet Awino Age: 27 Club: Rovers Relationship status: Single: Janet has made Sega Girls’ High School proud because she flies their flag high in continental rugby. Her ambition to play professional rugby started when she was in this school in Siaya. “I want to be a professional rugby player and, if possible, exploit my talent in one of the high ranking clubs in Europe,” she says.
Name: Angela Olum Age: 32 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: Single A banker with one of the leading financial institutions in Kenya, Angela Olum’s story is one that shows a delicate balance between study and sports. As life would have it, her love for rugbywould never be swayed since her days at St Georges Girls’ Secondary School. “I love rugby as a sport not just for the fun in it,” says Angela.
Name: Catherine Abilla Age: 24 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: Single: Catherine traces her love for rugby toKibera slums. “I play rugby because it is my passion and I enjoy it most while on the pitch doing my thing,” she says.
Name: Linda Anyango Age: 35 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: Single: When you talk of a coach-cum-player Linda Anyango is your girl. “I’m zealous about rugby because it has changed a lot about my life,” she says.
Name: Irene Otieno Age: 26 Club: Rovers Relationship status: Single: An alumnus of St Mopccatt Girls, Irene has over the last few years worked as an age-grade rugby coach with much interest in women’s rugby. “I just love rugby and it’s my passion, I can’t do without it,” says Irene. She believes the opportunity to represent the country abroad is God-given and all she can pray for is to emerge the best. “I want to do my best and perform well in this tournament because it may be the make-or-break for this team
Name: Linda Makokha Age: 22 Club: Rovers Relationship status: Single: University of Nairobi’s Linda Nandwa not only plays for her campus but also represents the nation. His passion and the love of the game, she hopes, will one day earn her a scholarship to further her interest in sports.
Name: Celestine Masinde Age: 26 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: Single: State House Girls. High School has one of their own at the national team. Cele, as her colleagues refer to her, works at Barclays Collection and for a long time she has been in rugby as a player and a fan. “I love the sport and I would love to go pro in future,” says Navalyo
Name: Rachael Mbogo Age: 30 Club: Rovers Relationship status: Married: A hairdresser who aspires to be an international rugby referee, Rachael plays the game because she loves it and would love to go international.
Name: Philadelphia Orlanda Age: 23 Club: Mwamba Relationship status: Single: Philadelphia believes one does not play just to make money but because the game is their life. “What else would I do without rugby? I love the game and have got a passion for it. I aspire to turn professional in the near future,” she says.