Philemon Olang – Christie 7’s MVP
As the Leos mauled all opponents in their way, one player stood out in the eyes of the technical team, Philemon Olang. Hailing from Kisumu, the lakeside favourite bagged the prestigious MVP at the Sevens series held at RFUEA grounds on Ngong road. I sat down with Philemon to get a sense of his love affair with rugby.
Philemon, a Bachelor of Business Information Technology student, developed a passion for rugby whilst in his first year of high school, form 1 back in 2011. “I always wanted to play rugby because Churchill Ooko a former Leo’s player used to come to our home from Maseno high and he was like a brother to me that’s how I had started loving rugby.”
A man of his talent and dedication has many admirers among coaches and scouts. He has previously played for the Red Wailers from the United Kingdom in the Safari 7s 2018 series and Winam the winners of the first rugby league in Kenya in 2022. Currently, he plies his trade with the re-emergent Leos who are arguably the best team in the series with two tournament wins and one final out of three series. Leos have gotten to the finals in every series they have played this season.
His biggest fan has been his mother. Philemon reminisces on the encouragement his mother gave him all through the journey. He credits her for being an unwavering pillar of support huge. In his time as a player, he hopes to climb to the summit of club rugby and national rugby by winning all there is to win. A noble ambition by every measure. Philemon is under no illusion that his rugby career has no expiration date. He is preparing for a life beyond the cage; he is working towards being Kenya’s best software engineer.
Having reached the final at Kabeberi 7’s, Leos could smell blood in the upcoming Christie 7’s and as anticipated they came out victorious. Philemon describes the mental state of the team before the final. “The difference is we knew that we were better than KCB because the previous week we lost by a narrow margin. We knew they were beatable.”
With a week to go before Driftwood 7’s, Philemon affirms the boys are pumped up and the team aims to win the overall circuit. Leos are still on course to achieve victory in 4/6 trophies.
To keep him guided and progressing, Philemon lives by the quote that, “God has a purpose and reason as to why everything happens as it does.”
To give back to the community, Philemon trains with a young rugby league team in Kisumu in cooperation with their coach. They train young kids and look for scholarships for them in high schools. Currently, they are educating over 7 kids in various schools in Kenya.
This article was written by Denzel Maina.
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