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I became a rugby player by accident – Collins Injera’s untold story

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Born in Nairobi and raised in Eldoret, 33-year-old Collins Injera, was not your average youngster.

Injera’s family described him as very playful, unique boy who did his best at anything he set his mind to.

“Alikuwa very playful kutoka utoto. Every time ako nje na watoto wengine wanacheza, wakitengeneza hii ball ya viraka, wanacheza the whole day, that we had to force him to come into the house,” said his father during an interview on Maisha Magic East.

Now famed for his impeccable rugby skills and achievements, Collins Injera had never imagined himself playing the sport.

For him, life was all about school and pursuing serious courses like medicine since his father, an immunologist by profession had already set the pace and Collins’s elder siblings had followed suit.

Discovering rugby by accident

After clearing his primary school education, Collins joined Vihiga High School in 2001 where he discovered his love for rugby.

“I joined rugby in an accidental way as you know those days in school you were required to join a club or a team for co-curricular activates. My first choice was football,” he said.

Injera says a crowd had formed on the football field. It was as though every Form One student wanted to try their luck in the sport. Since he was not good with big crowds, he left the football pitch.

“As I was leaving, I looked over on the other side of the field and I saw a small group of boys throwing around and kicking an oval-shaped ball. They welcomed me and I joined them and at the first touch of the ball, I was hooked. I got hooked to the sport so much that it started affecting my academics,” he recalled.

National team calling

In 2005, Collins joined Ulinzi rugby team where his elder brother, Humphrey Kayange was playing but was it disbanded.

He went on to join Mwamba Rugby Club which he described as being his ‘home and family’ for the last 13 years.

Starting off in division two, Injera says he vowed to do his best and join the national team, which he did.

“Being called up to the national team really showed me something. It showed me that when you focus on the process, most likely the end result would be in your favour. And by process here I mean the rigorous training we used to do with my friends,” said Injera.

According to a teammate Louis Kisia, Mwamba Rugby club was very convenient for them in terms of distance and accessibility since they had no bus fare and at times had to walk to training.

Izo times, 2005-2006 kupata fare ilikuwa ni hustle. It was easy for us kuenda Mwamba. Ukipata Sh20, you are good to go,” he said.

Aside from financial constraints, Collins had to once again juggle rugby and his studies at Daystar University where he enrolled for a course in International Relations.

“Ilifika point sikuwa naenda tours mingi kama vile nilikuwa naenda 2009. Kuna time unapata naenda tour mbili, alafu naskip iyo ingine because chuo kuna exams.”

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Wazito fc Boss to pay sacked players over Sh6 million

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The Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber has ordered Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Wazito FC to pay five players it sacked over six million shillings cumulative within 45 days.

Ugandan midfielder Mansoor Safi Agu, DR Congo international Piscas Muhindo, Ghanaian Paul Acquah, Liberian Augustine Otu and Togolese defender Issofou Bourhana, through their lawyer Felix Majani, stated the club to the world football governing body seeking compensation for unfair dismissal. Of the five, only Mansoor Safi was dismissed by the club at the beginning of the year while the rest were victims of the recent massive restructuring in the team.

Their cases were presented directly to the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber in mid-August and the department has now expedited the matter.

In a previous interview, Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru admitted he had received demand letters for compensation from some of the sacked players and their representatives as well communication on the same issue from Fifa. He, however, unapologetically said he was not keen on responding to the demand letters.

If Wazito fails to pay the monies within 45 days, the club will face a transfer ban over three windows. The ban will only be lifted after the amounts are paid in full.

The ruling by Fifa could set precedence as far as the speed at which cases regarding the termination of contracts, unfair dismissal of players and the ramifications of the same in the top league in Kenya are concerned.

Earlier this year, the worldwide representative organization of professional footballers, FIFPRO publicly expressed dissatisfaction with how the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was handling such cases, with a lot of such claims remaining unsettled since 2017.

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Harambee Stars exclude four top-tier players

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Harambee Stars will miss the services of the  influential quartet of Victor Wanyama, Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Michael Olunga when they face Zambia in the Africa Cup of Nations build-up match against Zambia on Friday.

The four were omitted yesterday when Football Kenya Federation released a final squad for the match set to be staged at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani behind closed doors. “The four will not be available for the match,” said FKF’S communications chief Ken Okaka.

The experienced players were part of the 34-man provisional squad released last week by coach Francis Kimanzi who will use the match to gauge his readiness for the November qualifier double against Comoros.

Origi, who plies his trade with Finland side HIFK Fotboll, was supposed to make his comeback to the team after five years in the cold. In the absence of the revered custodian, Kimanzi will pick the starter from the Zambian based Ian Otieno and national U-23  and Ulinzi Stars  goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo.

With Wanyama unavailable, all eyes will be on Kimanzi’s choice for the captaincy. Prior to his lengthy hiatus from the team, the former Maritzburg centre back Brian Mandela who made it to the team despite being unattached served as Wanyama’s deputy alongside Musa Mohammed.

Former Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango skippered the team during last year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge in Uganda. Having established himself as Stars preferred centre forward, the unavailability of the red-hot Olunga will leave Kimanzi with no options other than to try a new formation upfront.

Algerian-based Masud Juma is likely to fill in Olunga shoes with reigning Cecafa top scorer Oscar Wamalwa, AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia and Zambia-based Timothy Otieno offering options.

Meanwhile Kimanzi recalled Bandari’s wing-wizard Abdallah Hassan to replace Timbe Hassan  was part of the Stars team which scooped bronze in the past Cecafa championship.

Yesterday, eleven local-based players reported to camp and were screened for Covid-19  in line with the protocols sanctioned by the Ministry  of Sports. Foreign-based players were expected to start checking into camp  last night.

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Why did Kipchoge loose the London Marathon

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When race commentator Steve Cram announced “this is not normal” midway through Sunday’s London Marathon it was something of an understatement as Eliud Kipchoge, the most dominant performer the distance has ever seen, was finally looking mortal.

An hour later, Kipchoge trailed home eighth in a time six minutes slower than his own world record and over a minute adrift of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who won the race after a spectacular sprint finish in two hours, 05.41 minutes.

The Kenyan had finally cracked just under three miles from the end, later saying he was suffering from a blocked ear that affected his breathing and cramp in his hip, but refusing to blame the cold, wet conditions for his poor run.

It was no surprise that he looked slightly bemused as he tried to articulate what had happened, having never previously experienced what almost every other marathon runner at every level has a bad day at the office.

His record over the distance almost defies belief. He posted in his Twitter account that one of his ears blocked, and it could not open anymore.

The Ineos Challenge record holder has however promised to fight for the title another day.

“But this is how the sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. Thanks for the support,” Kipchoge said. He added “If you want to enjoy sport then you have to accept the results. I congratulate the top finishers, and that is how to enjoy the sport.”

He has appreciated Kenyans and his fans for the tremendous support, saying that he is taking the defeat in a positive way.

The race was won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata in a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory ahead of Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba.

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