What you need to know:
- It is this kind of fear that Kenya Sevens forward Alvin Otieno, nicknamed “Buffalo” or “Buffa” has instilled in his opponents.
The Buffalo is considered one of the most dangerous animals in the wild. Indeed, buffaloes tend to charge unrepentant, and for no apparent reason.
A feared animal, the buffalo gores, tramples, and sometimes kills opponents. It is the animal that hunters are most wary of.
It is this kind of fear that Kenya Sevens forward Alvin Otieno, nicknamed “Buffalo” or “Buffa” has instilled in his opponents.
Whether he is playing for Homeboyz in the Kenya Cup, or for Kenya Sevens in the World Rugby Sevens Series, opponents have to think twice before getting in the way of a charging “Buffalo” especially if the try line is in sight. And he packs a punch.
Weighing 94kg, the 27-year-old Otieno has proven quite a handful to opponents. He is simply unstoppable.
The Spanish and German players learnt this painfully at the just-concluded 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series in Canadian cities of Vancouver and Edmonton. “Buffalo” dished out one hand off after another to his opponents in Canada as Kenya Sevens bludgeoned through to score a total of 11 tries in Vancouver and Edmonton.
Apart from handing Spanish defender Emilien Cabale a “stool,” Otieno touched down one of Kenya’s three tries in their 17-5 victory against the Spaniards at the group stage in Vancouver.
Kenya Sevens lost to South Africa 33-14 in their last group match in Vancouver but Otieno scored one of the team’s two tries against the Blitzboks.
The unrelenting Otieno would then drill down a brace of tries as Kenya stunned United States 19-14 in the quarter-final. Daniel Taabu scored the other try.
Otieno’s double again propelled Kenya to a 38-5 victory against Ireland in the semi-final.
It was the first time Kenya made it to the semi-final and Cup final since 2018. The team lost to South Africa 38-5 in the final.
Against Germany in the Main Cup quarter-finals in Edmonton, “Buffalo” gave life to the term “stool” in rugby, neutralising his opponents with a single hand and sending them crushing to the ground heavily on their bottoms.
He made light work of Robin Plumpe and Ben Ellermann, shoving aside his opponent like a piece of paper before dashing to the try line. He then jumped up high and pumped his fist in the air in celebration. Kenya had won 24-17 to qualify for the semi-finals.
Otieno went on to score one of Kenya’s tries in the team’s 45-7 victory against Mexico in the pool stage in Edmonton.
Kenya again lost to South Africa 33-7 in the Main Cup semi-finals. The team finished third after dispatching hosts Canada 33-14 in the play-off for third and fourth places.
“It has been an awesome tour for me and for the team both in Vancouver and in Edmonton. We did not win a title in the series but I thank God for these results,” the 27-year-old Otieno said.
“Edmonton was also good to us. We lost two games and finished third. We shall build on this to polish our defence and kick-offs,” said Otieno, who also played for Kenya Sevens at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The former Kakamega High School alumnus has grown from strength to strength since winning the Singapore Sevens with Kenya Sevens in 2016.
“I have grown more as an individual and as a team player. I have slowly worked on my confidence to face anybody,” said Otieno, who made his maiden appearance for Kenya Sevens at the World Series at 2016 Hong Kong Sevens.
Otieno has so far played 58 matches for Kenya, scoring 22 tries. He plays as a winger in the loner version of the game and as a forward in the shorter version. He is the fourth overall try scorer in the ended series behind Muller du Plessis of South Africa (13 tries), American Malaachi Esdale, and Max McFarland of Great followed who have scored 12 tries each.
He reckons Kenya can match the best in the world.
“The team is still young. We just need time to work on our plays and build our confidence. We can match any core team out here,” said Otieno.