Kakamega High School is a well-known breeding ground for sportsmen in the country some who have flown and continue to fly the national flag in different tournaments at different levels.
Derrick Ashiundu is another rising star from the western region giants, spoke to Scrummage and shared his journey in the sport and what he seeks to achieve in future.
In 2015 in form two, Ashiundu got his first taste of the game in an interclass competition.
“I joined rugby while in form two during a rugby interclass tournament organized by the then outgoing captain Dominic Wendoh. After the successful tournament, I was asked by Coach Amos Wamanga to attend training from the following day.”
It was not his maiden day the field as he had been closely watching some of his friends actively play from a distance, his circle of friends, most of whom took part in co-curricular activities, moved him to get an active sport and that was rugby.
“Most of my friends participated in co-curricular activities inspired me to join and continue playing rugby.”
The dream of playing for Kenya 7s further motivated him to stay in the game. His early days were, however, not all that rosy. His worst worry was convincing his parents he could balance classwork while playing rugby.
“My parents wouldn’t have it easy for me playing rugby since they believed this would distract my concentration from class.”
The centre admits Kakamega High played a great role in his development on and off the field, offering all he required for his growth.
Ashiundu appreciates the role of Oscar Okaron- former Kakamega High fullback now playing for Blak Blad- for his role in his upbringing.
Joining Western Bulls was a dream come true for Ashiundu, since his high school days he had always wished to play for “Echulusi” and after completing his form four he would go-ahead and join the then championship side(2017/2018).
He first featured for the junior side that competed in the nationwide league but this did not last long, after a week he was promoted to the senior team.
The National Champion with Kakamega High’s Barbarians would go-ahead to make his debut against the University of Eldoret and a penalty kick he took gave his side victory.
“My debut was against the University of Eldoret at the UoE grounds, the game ended 10-13 as I booted in a last-minute penalty to win the game.”
Ashiundu recognizes the support from his family especially his mother, friends, teammates, coaches and precisely Bram Shikanda who gave him the opportunity to showcase his talent. He enjoys being in the Western Bulls camp.
“Western bulls is my family from the management, technical bench players and the fans. All these guys are just amazing and good people to work with.” Shiundu adds.
He terms winning the secondary school 15s title against Laiser in 2017 at Nairobi School as a moment he will live to treasure.
Falling to Mean Machine in the semis where they missed Kenya cup 2018/2019 season remains his lowest moment in the few years he has been in the game.
Ashiundu was among the top performers for Bulls during the 7s season despite playing fewer tournaments. He got the top scorers award at Prinsloo an achievement he says was a result of hard work in training. He hopes through God’s guidance he will bag more awards and feature internationally in both sevens and 15s.
“I enjoy playing Sevens a lot. I had worked hard during training thus the good results in Circuit. Above all God’s grace has been sufficient to me. God was always in control. I have high hopes and through God’s guidance, I will be able to get more awards and be scouted to Kenya team,” said Ashiundu.
“If God continues fighting for me which I’m sure he will, I see myself competing internationally both for the Sevens and 15s.”
There are several players who flourished at a young age but failed to live up to the expectation, for Ashiundu he is not worried as he has surrounded himself with mentors to ensure he achieves his dream.
“God is in charge. There are a lot of people (mentors) I look up to ensure I will live up to the expectations,” he concludes.
Apart from rugby he also participates in boxing, he is also a student pursuing a diploma in Information Communication and technology.
Derrick Ashiundu’s Factfile
Name: Derrick Ashiundu
School: Kakamega High
Club: Western Bulls
Achievement: KSSSA 15s Champions (2017) Joint top scorer Prinsloo, Western Bulls leading scorer in 2019 Kenya Cup