Nairobi News

GeneralMust ReadNewsSportsWhat's Hot

Retiring Ambaka set for eye surgery and holiday with fiancee

By Sinda Matiko February 1st, 2023 2 min read

Sevens World Series great, Willy ‘Lomu’ Ambaka, played his final match for Kenya last Sunday, January 29, 2023, after Tonga beat them at the Sydney 7s.

The winger had earlier announced that Sydney 7s would be his last international outing after 13 years of representing the country.

Also read: Roaming Chef, Dennis Ombachi, reveals the genesis of his passion for cooking

National Rugby seven-aside player Willy Ambaka
National Rugby seven-aside player Willy Ambaka leaves RFUEA ground after their Tuesday morning training session on 29th September 2015.Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO

His unexpected retirement announcement caught many rugby lovers by surprise, bearing in mind that he is only 32, still young enough to carry on for a couple of years.

In the lengthy, heartfelt letter announcing his retirement Ambaka just fell short of revealing the exact reason for his decision.

However, an eye problem and constant injuries did inform the Kenyan great’s decision to hang up his number 12 jersey for good.

In 2021, the stalwart winger partially lost sight in his left eye in a rugby accident playing in Russia.

At the time, the Kenyan was plying his trade for St Petersburg-based club Narvskaya Zastava.

Also read: Ombachi shares excitement after Kelly Rowland follows his recipes

The injury had him out for three months.

When he returned to the pitch, Ambaka was now playing wearing goggles.

“I am pretty much blind in one eye and I have had to play with goggles. They have really helped because if I got another knock, the eye would just pop and I might end up losing the eye completely.” Ambaka said in a candid interview with an international online Sport Magazine.

Even though the googles are comfortable and anti-fog making it efficient and sufficient for Ambaka to see while on the pitch, he is set for another corrective surgery next month, which probably explains his timely retirement announcement.

“I have another surgery in February which will hopefully help as I have lost the lens in my eye.”

Also read: Nameless, Dennis Ombachi and Arap Uria open up on their TikTok journey

National Rugby seven-aside player Willy Ambaka
Kenya Rugby seven-aside team player Willy Ambaka before the team departure to Dubai for Dubai 7s Rugby tournament, on November 28th 2016 at RFUEA ground.Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO

Ambaka says he will also be taking time to spend some quality time with his fiancée.

“I’m happy with what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved so far in my career. Right now is just a holiday enjoying some time with my fiancé because it’s been a long 13 years. As you can see I’m already injured in one eye, also so many (other) injuries.” He said in a separate interview with Rugby Pass last Sunday.

As of 2015, Ambaka had been in a relationship with Amira Eapen, a Canadian beau he met on Tinder.

Christened Kenyan Lomu after the late influential New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu, Ambaka leaves the stage having played 290 matches for Shujaa, scoring 135 tries on the international stage.

Lomu, a winger also, is remembered for his imposing physique, speed, and often brutal running game that provoked opponents, similar characteristics to what Ambaka displayed but garnished with his trademark hands-off dexterity.

Also read: Rugby sevens players floss Kenyan underwear ahead of Dubai Sevens