Emmanuel Mavala and Joshua Chisanga line up for RC Orkan Sochaczew. Photo Courtesy/ RC Orkan Media.

Kenya Simbas forward talks Poland experience


In 2019, Emmanuel Mavala became the second Kenyan Rugby player to feature in the Polish top tier -Ekstraliga after joining RC Orkan Sochaczew in October.

His move to the Club came immediately after the Kenya Simbas International season, having played for the Simbas as they beat Zimbabwe 36-14 in Nakuru to finish second in the Victoria Cup. The forward who went to the Club together Emmanuel Chisanga quickly found his way in the Orkan Sochaczew squad with his debut coming just after a week after linking up with the side.

Mavala says his immediate breakthrough to the first team was as a result of being well prepared by the first sessions at the Club which dealt with speed, endurance and skills.

“When we got there, we had two training session. The first was to check on speed, endurance while the second focused on skills. After a week, I was ready. I joined the rest of the team and got to play the first weekend,” Mavala told Scrummage.
Playing in Central Europe for the first time, Mavala admits the weather, the skill-levels and style of play in the competition were different from what he was used to in Kenya Cup.  He rates the Ekstraliga to be 20% better than the Kenya Cup.
“The difference is the weather, when it comes to skills and playing they are roughly above us, slightly 20% more than how we usually play,”  he noted.
After his first stint, Mavala reveals that he had a lot of lessons learnt, ranging from transitioning from a lock to better backrower and getting better on the breakdowns.
“I learnt a lot of lessons, I went there as a lock but off the season I trained as back row and the shifted and played at back row. I learnt a lot playing there. on breakdowns, we had a good coach who talked about them and I started loving playing at back row so it was really good,” he stated.
The Aga Khan High School Alumnus landed the deal to play in Poland after the Club’s coach who was monitoring his progress locally through videos called him to the Country to have a trial. He was set for the second stint with the club but it was been halted by the COVID-19 situation in the World.
“At first, it was trials, I had to do trials first. I got a call from the coach, he wanted to see how I play. He was asking for videos, so I compiled the videos and sent to him. He later asked me to go there.
“I was then asked to play the first season to see how it goes. The playing in the league was like the second trial just to see how I play around a new position. We were planning to go back but what happened made it impossible (COVID -19).” he said.
Orkan finished the season seventh on the log following three wins in nine matches.
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