Olando settling down to life in Dubai, but not ready to stop playing just yet

Captain Kenya Lionesses Philadelphia Olando during the naming of solid Kenya Lioness squad that will face Ghana in their Olympic Qualifier match next weekend. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As Philadelphia Olando (pictured) starts settling into her new job at Emirati Women Rugby team, the former Kenya Lionesses skipper says she has not given up in serving the national women sevens team if called upon.

Olando, who was appointed as the head coach of the United Arab Emirates national team, said she is out demonstrate that women are capable to succeed in areas men have flourished.

“This is an opportunity that presented itself and could not take chances with it. I’m equally elated to take up this job with both hands. I’ll do all in my ability to succeed so that I can open doors to many aspiring Kenyan women players willing to work abroad,” Olando told Standard Sports on phone from Dubai.

Olando revealed that she resigned as Kenya Lionesses captain to take up her new coaching role in Dubai. But Olando, who has been with the national team for 13 years, says she will always be ready to play for her country if requested.

“It will not be easy as I embark on full time coaching but I will always create time if called upon to serve my country in any international championships from now henceforth,” she stated.

As she takes up the new role, Olando feels that this is the time to start preparing for her life after playing rugby. 

“You cannot play all your life but there comes a time when there is a turning point. But, I’m happy to be part of the Kenya Lionesses and ready to serve the (national) team anytime since it has made me to be what I am today,” said Olando who previously also worked as a Strength and Conditioning coach at KCB Volleyball Club.

While congratulating Olando, Kenya Lionesses assistant coach Michael Shamia believes her exit will pave way for other upcoming players to wear the national team colors. 

“With Olando at Emirati RFC, this gives her an opportunity to further her skills that could make her become a refined player even if called upon to serve the national team later at a higher level,” said Shamia who is also the KCB Strength and Conditioning and Skills Development coach.

Olando said the new role has not only given her an opportunity to empower women in the game, but also inspire them.

“It will also be an opportunity to empower the Kenya women in rugby and instill in them new skills and prove to them that there is life in sports,” she said.

Before she officially starts her new role, Olando is set to undergo several courses to see her measure up to the required standards as approved by United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation.