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Lamech Ambetsa: Winger reflects on journey from Bungoma High to MMUST rugby

MMUST winger Lamech Ambetsa folds a life of a player forged into perfection by defying all manner of odds while starting up.

His performances at MMUST puts him among the other young promising young talents, walking courts at the varsity side.

The story of Ambetsa’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the dusty pitches of Nalondo village, Bungoma County where he was a footballer, way back when in Primary School. His footballing dream came to a halt immediately after clearing his primary education to join Bungoma High School in 2015.

MMUST Lamech Ambetsa races to the try-line against Mwamba. Photo Courtesy/Denis Acre-Half

At Bungoma, Ambetsa’s first co-curricular activity was Music. It was after he was dropped from the music team days before travelling to the National Music Competition that he joined rugby.

“I got into my rugby career at Form two in Bungoma High School after being denied a chance to go for the National music festival for not attending a one day practice in 2015. At first, I used to watch the team train and that’s how I grew to like the game,” he told the Scrummage.

“I started as a team water-boy and didn’t give up since I liked the game. I had to sacrifice my time for training and be patient hoping for the best one day “he added.

Ambetsa stuck with the game, battling the harsh times with the support of his then classmate and teammate Beldad Ogeta who currently turns for Menengai Oilers.

”I owe Ogeta much respect. He really mentored me so much to be who I am today. He taught me rugby skills that kept me going.”

It didn’t take long before the then Bungoma RFC head coach Vincent Barasa, who also doubled as the school head coach, noticed his talent, and with it, came a calling to feature in the nationwide side Bungoma RFC. It is there that he even started making the school’s starting team.

Later on in 2017 Bungoma high school qualified for the Kenyan Secondary Schools Sport’s Association National rugby sevens games which were held in Shimo la Tewa Mombasa. He was part of the team that reached quarter-finals after being bundled out by Menengai High School.

His biggest challenge while starting up, he says, was a lack of support from his parents.
“They (parents) never liked the sport at all. At one time my dad nearly refused to pay my school fees until I quit rugby. I later convinced him when I started posting good results in class that’s where I got his approval” he added.

His career took a new direction when Bungoma RFC met MMUST in a nationwide competition. Ambetsa was handed a starting berth at the Fullback position and was named the Man of the Match in the game.

Upon completing High School in 2018, he went straight and attend trials in Kakamega with Masinde Muliro University Rugby Team. It was here that he got himself a Civil Engineering Scholarship after a successful trial.

His debut for the varsity came in a home match against Eldoret RFC which they won .

MMUST’s Lamech Ambetsa races to the try-line against Mwamba. Photo Courtesy/Denis Acre-Half

Following a stellar 2020 Championship season, MMUST were promoted to Kenya Cup, beating Mean Machine 21-12 in the semis in March 2021 in a match that Ambetsa played in the closing half.

Ambetsa made his maiden Kenya Cup debut in MMUST’s first Kenya Cup game, coming off the bench against Kabras RFC. With one try (against Mwamba RFC) to his name, Ambetsa hopes one day play for either Kenya national sevens or fifteens team.

Asked on who he feels indebted for his rugby career, “There are many people I’ll credit but just to mention a few, my high school coach Vincent Barasa, Beldad Ogeta (my mentor) and MMUST Coach Dr.Ahaya for believing in me,” he posed.

Lamec Ambetsa’s FACT FILE
NAME:Lamec Ambetsa Kokoyo
D.OB: ,2000
WEIGHT:80Kgs
BEST MEAL:Ugali pork
HIGH SCHOOL: Bungoma High

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