Humble Humwa all set for second Olympic appearance

Powerful Herman Humwa

Powerful Herman Humwa (with the ball) charges at Kevin Wekesa (right) as John Okoth (left) and George Ooro close in during a Kenya Sevens training session at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 2, 2024, ahead of this month’s Paris Olympics.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Many players would have quit Kenya Sevens rather than endure the rigorous preparations after returning from a nagging injury. Not so, for Herman Humwa..

The humility, had work and willingness to learn by the 29-year-old after recovering from a troublesome chondromalacia patellae injury has endeared him well with the Kenya Sevens technical bench.

Chondromalacia patellae aka “runner’s knee’ is one of the most common causes of anterior knee pain among young people.

Head coach Kelvin “Bling” Wambua says Humwa, who is set to make his second appearance at the Olympic Games is a player every tactician looks for.

 “There is a lot that youngsters in the Kenya Sevens team can pick from Humwa based on how he has handled himself through adversity to make the team for the Olympic Games,” said Wambua, who named Humwa in his squad of 14 players yesterday for the Paris Games.

Wambua said that it’s not only about his experience but how Humwa managed to stay humble and continued to do what was right in training even after a slow return to play (RTP) period.”

“He is a decent player who understands his game and role and above all, works hard, something that has really inspired many players in the team,” explained Wambua.

Humwa had a recurring chondromalacia patellae condition that worsened at the end of the 2022/2023 World Rugby Sevens Series when the country got relegated.

“I sustained the injury during the fifth leg of the series in Sydney but couldn’t quit with the team battling relegation,” said Humwa, who took a break after the series to seek medical attention.

“It was challenging for the months I went through treatment and rehabilitation. At one point, I gave up and thought I would never play rugby again,” said the Kenya Harlequin forward.

However, Humwa said he had to stay focused since this is the game he loved and that his desire was to see Kenya Sevens return to the World Series.

“ I watched the team relegated and it was painful. We had to go back to the series after I missed the successful Olympics qualifiers,” said Humwa.

Humwa and team co-captain Vincent Onyala are the only serving players from the team that featured at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that were played in 2021 because of Covid-19.

Humwa, who made his debut in the 20127/2018 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai noted that he was a rookie when the likes of Collins Injera and William Ambaka ruled the roost.

“I drew many lessons from them and it’s now easy for me to blend with this young, talented and ambitious team. They are quick to learn new things and that makes work easy for the coaches,” said Humwa, a footballer and sprinter turned rugby player.

Humwa, who returned to help the team gain promotion to the World Series last month, said that the current squad could surprise many at the Paris Olympics.

“We are on a winning trajectory and the confidence is back. The team’s tactical approach has changed and we are playing a different brand of rugby,” he said.