Number 13 to many is not a lucky number, few phenomena or historical happenings can be attributed to the number, however, for Bob Muhati it is among the few numbers he can write, speak and wears regularly.
Whenever he puts on a number 13 jersey his opponents get the wrath of this ‘unlucky’ two-digit number. Scrummage got in contact with him over the new year and managed to unearth what many don’t know about the fast-rising youngster.
Muhati narrates how he watched St.Peters Mumias High School team train from his primary school field wondering whether he would ever get the chance to, at least, hold the odd-shaped ball.
“My first interaction with rugby was way back in primary school where I would watch St Peters High School Mumias train from our primary school field the game caught my eye and wished to play it someday too.” he says.
Doors to play the game finally opened up in 2013 when he joined high school, it is at Butula Boys High School that he began to actualize what, over the last few years, he had wished to. High school rugby laid the foundation for Muhati who despite not being in a school that was a rugby powerhouse beat all the odds to rise fast in the game and ensured his school appeared in the rugby map.
“High school rugby did play the primary role, being a school that never really focused on rugby we had to go against the odds to ensure the progress of the team.”
In a region that was largely a rugby dominant, competing to higher levels in school games was a dream that never came to reality and in most competitions, his side did not compete past the county competitions. He says they had the potential but needed more luck.
“It was a good team but what I can say is we missed some luck. We happened to play all finals both sevens and 15s at the County level from 2014 to 2016. Unfortunately, even those that we won we never got the chance to showcase what he had at the next level.”
Muhati, however, had individual luck, in form three he got a chance to play for Kenya Cup side Western Bulls making his debut against Mean Machine as a prop, he played till 2017 when he left to join University.
“I joined Western Bulls while still in form three and had my Kenya Cup debut match that same year against Mean Machine. After high school, I went back to continue with the journey at Echulusi.”
He terms his experience at Western Bulls as learning process where he contrasted high school rugby and club rugby an opportunity he appreciates.
“There was a lot to learn owing to the disparity between high school rugby and club rugby. It was a good foundation something I am always grateful for the opportunity I was given at that level and the home that it was to me.”
Muhati moved to Thika where his paramount duty was to study, but ‘once a rugby player always a rugby player.’ Mount Kenya University became his home for about 17 months. Here Muhati had some achievements to celebrate.
“I have won several KUSA 7s victories, I got my debut at the National 7s circuit top tier during 2017 Prinsloo 7s and won the 2018 Central Region 15s nationwide.”
Muhati who is pursuing a degree in economics and finance says MKU served as a step from his previous position and gave him more opportunities to express himself mentally and physically. It is from MKU Bob joined Homeboyz rugby, a top Kenya Cup side where he plays to date with 2019/20 being his second season with the Deejays.
The 21-year-old, like most sports personalities, hopes to fly the Kenyan flag someday in international competitions and when the opportunity comes he would be glad to embrace it and live it to the fullest. Despite impressing with Homeboyz in the National 7s Circuit he did not make the Kenya 7s squad. He featured in the Safari 7s with invitational side Red Wailers.
A developing master in the game Muhati attributes his success to his high school teammates and coaches at Western Bulls.
“My high school teammates, Arstone Lee and Isaac Adeya and Western Bulls coaches then Howard Okwemba and Bram Shikanda and most importantly Kelvin ‘Nyundo’ Juma who taught me lots of stuff regarding rugby deserve credits” he concludes.
His journey has, however, been turbulent with the greatest being how to manage school work and sports.
Bob advises young and upcoming players to work hard and trust the process.
Name: Bob Muhati
Playing position: centre
Achievements:2018 Central region nationwide league winner, KUSA 7s, Prinsloo sevens 2017 top tier
School: Butula High school
University: Mount Kenya University
Course: Economics and Finance
Clubs: Western Bulls, MKU, Homeboyz