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Gideon Makumi: The story of the undeterred halfback

Gideon Makumi was a bit jealous of how his classmate was going out almost every weekend. On one Monday morning he approached the guy and he was advised to turn up for training and give it a try. This is how the young lad fell in love with the beautiful sport of rugby back then at Muhuri Muchiri High School.

He really loved passing the ball around.In addition to his relatively small body frame, he was slotted directly to the halfback position. Makumi had to work hard to contain the physicality of his peers in his early playing days and admits it was his greatest challenge back then.

“The main challenge was my size, this made it difficult for me to take contact so I had to work extra hard”

His major achievement in high school was steering his school to Damu Pevu glory. He also had some stellar performances in tournaments like St. John Andrews 7s, Thika 7s and KRU U-18 7s in which he was named most improved.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Giddy Makush, people playing sport and outdoor

Makumi in action for Strathmore Leos against Impala. Photo Courtesy/Dennis Acre-Half

Makumi would later on join Comras RFC – which features in the Nairobi Nationwide League after high school before securing a chance to study and play for Strathmore University. It is here at Strath that Makumi sharpened his rugby skills under watchful eyes of former Kenya 7s mentor, Mitch Ocholla.

“After high school, I had a short stint at Comras and then later came to Strathmore where I was given a chance to study and play for the team. Playing for Strathmore really helped me improve on my rugby skills and I really thank God for that and former coach Mitch Ocholla”

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2018 was a year that great things went in the way of the Leos halfback. His magnificent performance in the 2017 Kenya Cup season caught the attention of national team selectors and eventually got a call up to the Kenya U-20 squad. Though he did not make the final squad that went to Namibia for the Barthes Cup, he left the camp with vital lessons.

He describes it as a great experience and he is now working hard to ensure he makes it to the senior side one day.

” It was a good experience with the under 20.  I learned that you have to know the basics, work hard  and be determined. To get to the senior team I just have to do what i do best and enjoy rugby.”

In 2018, he also produced a man of the match performance in the Mwamba Cup finals against KCB II where he booted 14 points in the 19-3 win.

The Business Commerce student was  named in the dream team of the 2018 Christie 7s and later on that year featured for Red Wailers in the Safari 7s as they went on to finish seventh after a 43-7 win over Namibia.

Having played two Kenya cup seasons, Makumi has learnt a lot. Some of the lessons learnt is discipline and brotherhood.

“The greatest lesson learnt in rugby is that discipline comes in hand with everything that you do in life. It starts with individual discipline and also brotherhood where you make long time friends”

“The greatest lesson learnt in rugby is that discipline comes in hand with everything that you do in life. It starts with individual discipline and also brotherhood where you make long time friends”

The 5 ft 7 65 kgs play-maker plans to win any trophy on offer for his club in future and admits to be enjoying his time at the cage

“My future targets in regards to club level is to win every possible trophies and to leave a good legacy in my club. I have not yet decided of future club but as for now am just focusing and enjoying my time at Leos”

Image may contain: 13 people, including Giddy Makush, people smiling, indoor

Gideon Makumi (with Jersey 17) and Red Wailers teammates pose with Jerseys ahead of 2018 Safari 7s.

Makumi looks up to the nippy All Black halfback Aaron Smith where he draws his motivation internationally and Mwamba’s Eugene Nzioka whom he says, really helped him in developing his game.

“After University, i will just continue playing rugby and mentoring the young generation.If God allows maybe I’ll be playing at a top level than where i am now.”

Makumi’s target will be to help his side back in the top tier having been relegated at the end of season.

Quick glance

Name: Gideon Makumi

School: Muhuri Muchiri

Previous Club: Comras

Club: Strathmore Leos

University: Strathmore University

Course: BA Commerce

Position: 9/10

Weight: 65 Kgs

Height: 5 FT 7

Achievements: Driftwood 7s division 2 winner with comras, Most improved player 2016, Coaches award 2017, Mwamba cup winner 2018, Dala 7s division 2 winner 2018, Christie’s 7s dream team 2018

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