What you need to know:
- Mwathi who lives by the bibles verse, Deuteronomy 33:25, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days, so shall thy strength be" says he is happy he took the risk of converting the netball to handball team.
- "I have rubbed shoulders with many people, travelvedd across the world, but my satisfaction is to see handball grow and bring accolades to the country just as other disciplines do," concludes Mwathi.
After trying his hand in boxing and netball, veteran coach Peter Mwathi finally found a niche in handball.
Mwathi ,55, is coach of Kenya men’s handball team, and also handles Strathmore University team.He also coaches people living with hearing impairment.
While working in Thika in 1988, Mwathi was recalled to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) headquarters in Nairobi where he interacted with a female colleague who coached the company’s netball team.
Mwathi’s colleague noticed his love for sports and when the colleague left, she entrusted the team to him.
“Growing up, I loved boxing. After finishing my studies at St Edward's Secondary School, I featured in some open bouts in the bantamweight category but I didn’t prosper.Despite having a competitive netball league in the 90s, NCPBA team was not performing well. I thought there were more openings in handball than in netball.
Then in 1992, I chose to change to handball. I believed there were more chances of a handball team competing at the Olympics than netball. I formed the team., and got new players like Caroline Kusa, Grace Madegwa, Edina Kasandi, Regina Waithera and Hellen Nzisa and from various schools among them Nairobi School, Huruma and Aga Khan.
The team would rule the local scene from 1993 through to 2011 even after I left the company to join Kenya Polytechnic University College (now Technical University of Kenya)," Mwathi, a graduate of the University of Physical Education in Budapest, Hungary, said.
He likes new challenges.
"In 2002, I left for Botswana to do my own stuff but in 2006, I felt the urge to come back. I would later join TUK. I put the right mechanisms in the institutions, gave players scholarships and that changed everything. Because we were getting good players with good grades.
I really wanted students to excel in sports and education. After three years, I left to join Strathmore University but I'm glad that the foundation I had put in place helped the team win the Kenya Handball Federation National League title in 2014," the father of five says.
Mwathi, who was entrusted to coach the women's team in 1997 during the Africa Games qualifiers in Egypt,says it's unfortunate the Kenyan teams have failed to sparkle at the continental stage.
"We just don't get right.Our age group teams are inactive and there is no way we can perform well if we don't invest in our youth.At the club level we perform well in the East Africa competitions but we fallen short at the continental and it's sad that we keep on repeating the same things and expecting different results. I was later moved to the women's team in 2004 through to 2015 and again little was achieved," said Mwathi, who was on the touchline as Cereals defeated Strathmore 38-26 in the semi-final of the KHF Super Cup at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Sunday.
Mwathi who boasts of 31 years in coaching,says Nairobi Water coach Jack Ochieng sold him the idea of coaching the women's with impaired hearing team.
"It was going to be tough considering I had not studied sign language but I took it as a challenge in 2018. The move to share my knowledge with the team has also helped me to start learning sign language and I'm happy that last year, the team participated in Summer Deaflympics held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil and although the team recorded dismal performance, they picked positive.
It's through the team's participation in Caxias, that we engaged the Federation to allow the teams to compete in the National League. The journey has been worthwhile," said Mwathi.
Mwathi who lives by the bibles verse, Deuteronomy 33:25, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days, so shall thy strength be" says he is happy he took the risk of converting the netball to handball team.
"I have rubbed shoulders with many people, traveled across the world, but my satisfaction is to see handball grow and bring accolades to the country just as other disciplines do," concludes Mwathi.