Javan Ateh:From double ACL tears & 2 years absence to captaining Oilers

Two years and 205 days was the period that Menengai Oilers lock Javan Ateh had to spend on sidelines after suffering two anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

Before the injury, the forward was enjoying a fine run with the side which had just clinched the Rift Valley and National Nationwide title. The side had started off the 2017 National 7s Circuit campaign impressively finishing third at Driftwood 7s and reached the Kabeberi 7s finals.

Right Knee

Ateh headed to the third tournament -Prinsloo keen to continue with the run but he picked a right knee injury while playing against Western Bulls. It was later confirmed that he had torn his ACL and had a surgery in 2018. After healing, he was expected to return to action in July 2018 but was dealt a blow after tearing the left ACL which led to another surgery.

He says having a double ACL tear was a tough moment in his career and he contemplated to quit the game before Oilers management intervened.

“It affected me a lot. I wanted to quit but Menengai Oilers management encouraged me to hold on,” Ateh told the Scrummage.

“I would like to thank God, my Coach (Gibson Weru),  Oilers management and my parents for being there for me through the period,” he added.

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While on the sidelines Coach Weru handed him a role as forwards Coach and this saw him maintain close relationship with the team. The Moi High School -Nakuru Alumnus also served as a Team Manager in the 2019 National 7s Circuit.

“Gibson believed in me and gave me a task to coach the forwards in the absence of forward 15 coach Uhuru who was in New Zealand due to job commitments. I was the TM in 2019 during the short version 7s the roles helped me a lot mentally,” he noted.


After Oilers acquired the services of Strength and Conditioning coach Sam Njogu, Ateh went through proper rehabilitation which prepared him for his return.

“Sam came in from Nakuru and was the man in charge of my rehab,” he revealed.

On the 24th day of the year 2020, Ateh was included in the Kenya Cup squad to play Nakuru. He captained the side as they fell narrowly 19-17 to their neighbours Wanyore at Nakuru Athletic Club. He admits he was happy to be back to action but had some fears as he felt that one tackle would mess him once more.

” I was very excited but had a lot of tension cause it was a against our big brothers Nakuru and I knew they were very good in the physical aspect of the game. I feared those chop tackles a lot but at the end I enjoyed the moment,” he stated.


Ateh kept the captaincy role in wins against Captain Western Bulls, Mwamba and a loss to  Kabras.

“It was a good experience captain the side but it was a different story from ESS because there was a lot of pressure from the fans , management and also  teammates especially when the team was on the receiving end. I really appreciate the support from the boy’s, fans and the management while captaining the senior side.”

The players hopes to get better and he is eyeing a place in the Kenya National team.

“My target is to regain the top form and am looking forward for a call up in National team.”

Oilers are awaiting to face Homeboyz in the Kenya Cup quarters.

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