Painting and crafting his name among the greats in one of Kenya’s rugby top teams, Kabras RFC, is high rising youngster hooker, Eugene Sifuna.
Sifu as his mates like to refer to him, has slowly cemented his presence in the millers camp and has emerged as a surprise answer to Henly Du Plessis puzzle for Coleman Were and Max Adaka injury absence. He has already scored five tries in Kenya Cup.
The second-year Electrical and Telecommunications engineering student at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) narrates his rugby journey to The Scrummage.
“Rugby is my true calling,” he starts off with a smile.
“My first ever initiation to this great sport was back in 2015 while at Kakamega High School. I was in Form Two then. Although I had the passion to play rugby, I did not know how to start. It was until senior players like Archadeius Khwesa (Blak Blad), Elvin Asena (Homeboyz) and Ayub Makuto advised me on how I can join the team,” he says.
His first ever playing position, he vividly remembers, was as a tighthead prop, and it did not take him long before he was incorporated into the school’s starting 15.
“My first ever playing position in the green jersey was as a tighthead prop. My discipline, quick learning skills and ability to adapt impressed the coach and I was immediately given a nod ahead of the other players into the starting 15,” he says.
Sifuna would go on to win the 2016 East Africa Crown, followed by the 2017 National crown with Kakamega High School, in what he describes as his best moments in High school
“In 2016 we were crowned East Africa champions. Although we had lost to Bungoma High School in the National finals, that was a big moment for me. In 2017, we won the National finals but lost to Laiser Hill in the East Africa finals. This was also a memorable moment as it dawned to me unity is key to success,” he says.
In 2018, Kabras RFC acquired the services of the youngster, a decision that he says, did not require second thoughts.
“While still in high school, a lot of former players and some coaches used to come to our school and help us in training. Among them were Elkeans Musonye (Impala), Asena (Homeboyz) and the then Kabras coach Anthony Ogot. Since Kakamega is my hometown, I joined Braska (Kabras) in 2018 in an immediately-after-school move with no second thoughts,” he says.
Sifuna who also describes his move to the millers camp as a dream come true, says it is a privilege to play in a fiercely competitive environment and with top elite players.
“Joining Kabras was a dream come true. My patience has never been shaken. I knew I was going against top players and it was and is still is a big privilege for me calling
them teammates,” he says.
The youngster revealed working under head coach Henly Du Plessis has scaled and improved his game by a great margin, saying a call up to the Kenya Simbas team tops his list of ambitions and outlines he is ready to take up the challenge.
“The level of coaching here (at Kabras) is of international standard and our current coach has really upped my game by a great score of margin. I am really shaping up and it is always every player’s dream to represent his country. It would be an honour to play for the Kenya Simbas,” he says.
His biggest challenge he outlines at the moment is balancing classwork and playing time.
“My biggest challenge at the moment remains to balance classwork and rugby. Engineering is a tough course that requires attention, and so is my career in rugby. I always try my best to balance the two. Also, frequent injuries can squash your morale as a player. Although I’ve stayed off injury for some time now, injuries are always a challenge,” he says.
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The youngster idolises All Blacks hooker Dan Cole and hopes to follow his footsteps in international rugby.
“Internationally I look up to Dan Cole. His prolific style of play and mobility is fantastic. I would wish to have an international career like his,” he says.
Joining the likes of fellow teammate Barry Robinson, Timothy Okwemba (Oilers) Samuel Asati, Geoffrey Okwatch (both KCB) , just to name a few, Eugine ‘Sifu’ Sifuna ranks as one of the most promising young talents in Kenyan rugby, radiating hope that the future of Kenyan Rugby is intact and safe.