Why hockey star Nyongesa admires Real captain Ramos

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Saturday, February 29th 2020 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Hockey
Butali Kenneth Nyongesa reacts for the ball when they played Strathmore in the premier men at City park on 05/03/16. [JENIPHER WACHIE, STANDARD]

Kenneth Nyongesa will go down in history as one of the best hockey defenders and successful captains of his generation.   

Away from hockey, Nyongesa is a professional having pursued a Bachelor of Business Information and Technology (BBIT) at Strathmore and has also studied leadership. He made his international debut for Kenya in 2009.

Standard Sports caught up with the father of two who recently stepped down as champions Butali Warriors captain to talk about his life on and off pitch.

YOU HAVE CAPTAINED CHAMPIONS BUTALI SUGAR WARRIORS FOR SIX YEARS, HOW DOES IT FEEL?

I’m proud of our achievements and credit goes to the passionate and dedicated Butali Warriors players who have worked tirelessly over the years.

YOU RECENTLY STEPPED DOWN AS THE CAPTAIN, WHAT ADVICE DO HAVE YOU FOR YOUR SUCCESSOR?

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First, I congratulate Constant Wakhura for earning the armband. Each one of us will be looking up to him for direction on and off pitch and so he must lead by example through discipline and dedication.

YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH THE NEWLY APPOINTED HEAD COACH ZACK AURA AT BOTH NATIONAL TEAM AND CLUB, DO YOU THINK HE IS THE RIGHT MAN?

Yes, I believe he is the perfect man for the job. He is a very skilled and intelligent person. He is a leader who is flexible and ready to accept new ideas which is a plus in modern-day hockey.

WHAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR HOCKEY CAREER?

The six seasons I have captained Butali have been my best, four Premier League titles and two second place finishes are worth celebrating.

WHO IS THE TOUGHEST PLAYER YOU HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED AT CLUB OR NATIONAL TEAM LEVEL?

Zack Aura is the toughest player I have played against because he was very fast and his hockey skills are unrivaled and could beat any defender.

WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE ON PITCH?

Hahahaha, in 2009 while playing for Strathmore against Greensharks I was fielded as a striker and instead of scoring I defended.

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A PERFECT BALANCE AROUND YOUR TIGHT SCHEDULE?

I’m guided by good planning, discipline and I have also mastered the art of time management so it makes it easy for me to fulfill my work, club and family responsibilities without struggle.

KENYA HAS BEEN DROPPING IN THE FIH AND AFHF RANKINGS, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS AILING KENYAN HOCKEY?

Kenyan hockey has a multitude of problems that can’t be summed up in a few sentences. Even so, the bigger problem is poor management. The current leadership has refused to involve young and vibrant minds, thus to embrace new ideas.

GIVEN A CHANCE, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

Leadership is the root of all our problems that is why I would make sure that there is sound management at the national governing body.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION?

I would love to go Seychelles

WHAT’S THE BEST GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

I don’t put price tags on everything and so my best gift was the opportunity to lead my current and former clubs to glory.

 WHO IS YOUR MOST TRUSTED FRIEND AND CONFIDANT IN THE TEAM?

Our Team Manager Kamal Sembi. 

WHO’S THE PLAYER YOU WATCH ON THE COURT AND SAY, “HE’S SOMETHING SPECIAL TO WATCH.”?

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, he is a leader who is always angry for more success.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?

Roast potatoes and beef.

 WHAT ONE THING CAN’T YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?                   

My wristwatch.

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIAN AND WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU ENJOY MOST?

Joseph Hill — and I enjoy reggae music.

WHY HOCKEY? AND IF NOT HOCKEY, WHAT OTHER SPORT WOULD YOU HAVE PLAYED?

I will say hockey is an addiction, I would have played football because it is second on my list.

 How do you spend your free time?

I take my family out.

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