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Student spotlights: Rugby sensation Mike Wanjala

From a humble beginning rises a star, Michael Wanjala is a 24 year old rugby player, born second of five siblings and raised by a single parent, he has fought all odds to reach where he is now. He attended Bungoma High School in Western Kenya where he nurtured his skills in rugby and served as the rugby captain.


In 2011, Michael joined Strathmore University (SU) pursuing a DBIT Diploma in Business Information Technology, and he earned himself a sports scholarship and signed a contract to play for Strathmore Leos, the university’s rugby team. This experience he says helped in bring out his potential, the ability to balance his academic work and sports and also interpret the information acquired in class on the pitch and vice versa. Being on scholarship brings more learning, because while on it, a player has to perform in academics, he cannot sign contracts with other club and is expected to have good, solid character. This he says has shaped who he is today.

International exposure and awards

While in the LEOS, Michael has been selected to play for the National team, and this has enabled him travel far and wide and played in international matches and won awards while at it. Among many other games, he played in U-19 rugby games in Tunisia, Junior World Rugby Champions Qualifiers in Nairobi, International Rugby Board (IRB) series: Gold Coast, England, Kenya Sevens, Tokyo Sevens, Vegas Sevens, Dubai Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens and Wellington Sevens in Scotland and Moscow for the World Cup Rugby. Rugby has given him a lot of exposure, and the stipends and allowances cater for his upkeep, and help him assist his family. He has won various awards, such as Rookie of the Year in2009, Player of the year award in 2011, Player of the Tournament Universities Rugby in France and Male player of the year 2011; he aims to win many more.

Key lessons learnt

He has learned many key lessons along the way, like the balance between studies, the game and social life whilst keeping to the terms and conditions of his contract. He now knows all too well that nothing comes on a silver platter and that the only shortcut to success is hard work, discipline, and self-mastery. Rugby requires self-discipline and a tight workout regimen; he works out on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday evenings from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. He also has to watch and control his diet, and ensures that proteins and carbohydrates are part of his diet, with chicken and nyama choma being his favorite delicacies.


Wanjala looks up to Jonah Tali Lomu, a winner of BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year and a master of the rugby game, he aspires to be like him. Upon completion of his studies, he aspires to play professional rugby.


Watch Michael Wanjala interview below: