SNAPPY 7: Brad Owako – I’m looking forward to make a mark on in the World Rugby series
At just 22 years old Bradley Owako was named one of the most promising young player for the 2015 sevens season.
In May 2016 the explosive Mwamba RFC centre got his first call to represent Kenya in Amsterdam Sevens and is currently in the national team set-up.
The former student of Laiser Hill Academy spoke to Nairobi News about his aspirations.
1. Briefly tell us about yourself – I am currently playing rugby for Mwamba RFC and the national team. I attended three different high schools and it wasn’t because of bad behavior or anything like that, it was because I got scholarships from all those schools for me to play for them.
Ngote High School is where I started my Form One, then I joined Kakamega High School before finishing at Laiser Hill Academy.
2. When did you develop the passion for rugby and how has the experience been so far? – I never played rugby in primary school. I only started to see people playing the game when I joined high school. That is when I got interested in the game.
While in Kakamega High School, I saw a game where Humphrey Kayange was playing and he really inspired me a lot. Two years down the line, after I finished high school, I played with him in the same club. It was such a joy to me. For me rugby in a wider sense builds character. You end up making friends with a lot of people.
3. What has been your highest and lowest moments so far? – My highest moment is when I played in Amsterdam. The environment and the level of professionalism was something I had never seen and it was such a joy for me. I am looking forward to be named in the next upcoming selection for the IRB series of 2017-2018.
My lowest moment has to be the day we (Mwamba) lost to Western Bulls and yet we had the likes of Injera, Ombachi while they had no professional player in their team.
4. If you were named sevens head coach, who would you pick? – Collins Injera, Humphrey Kayange, Felix Otieno, Felix Ayange, Alvin Otieno, Frank Wanyama, Olaba, Mugahisi, Biko Adema. They are great lads, they have the best hearts and they understand the game very well.
5. Why is it that most rugby players are from the Western region? – There is a shift right now if you have noticed. The hype has always been and for a longtime rugby has always been played in Western Kenya. Guys are strong. I don’t think we have any Kamba playing for any team, but I think there’s a Kikuyu. Maybe in the club level there are many, but in the national team, I can’t think of anyone.
6. What do you do during your free time? – People don’t know this, but I’m actually a rugby coach. I am working with an NGO called Shamas and I’m in charge of the under 14 team in most schools in Eastlands. I try to coach the kids, install discipline in them and teach them social skills. I started coaching in early 2015 and I have been doing it ever since. It is my passion. We always have a monthly tournament whereby all the kids from every center like Kibera, Eastlands come together and play a tournament. It is always nice to see them play and the joy they have.
7. Can you make it in Kenya with rugby only and your advice to the young people who look up to you? – In Kenya, rugby hasn’t reached that level, you must have some side hustle in order to survive. But I know in the next few years Kenya will be playing professional. Rugby is all about hard work. No one was born knowing rugby, its all about hard work and persistence.