What you need to know:
- Amaitsa is among the players Wambua has opted to maintain from the squad that won the Olympic qualifiers and Africa Cup. Herman Humwa and Brian Mutugi retained their spots in the team with Vincent Onyala and Tony Omondi sharing the captaincy.
- George Ooro makes a return to the Shujaa squad having missed the team’s successful campaign at the Safari Sevens.
The call from Kenya Sevens team head coach Kelvin “Bling” Wambua left him stunned considering that his background isn’t associated with a school well known to produce rugby players.
However, three months after the life-changing call, Nygel Amaitsa, the Musingu High School Alumnus, is now leaving his dream, playing the game he embraced at the age of 10, at the highest level.
It was just before the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers held on September 16 and 17 this year in Harare, Zimbabwe, when Wambua signaled the 21-year-old fly-half and centre to join the final team.
“It was unbelievable and I thought I was dreaming considering the experienced players who were in the training squad,” said Amaitsa, who will for the third time play for Kenya Sevens, this time at the Dubai Sevens Invitational tournament scheduled for this weekend in the United Arab Emirates capital.
“I thought the call up had come soon...I was giving myself perhaps another one year or so before I could think of making the final team,” said Amaitsa.
Amaitsa went on to score a hat-trick of tries as Kenya beat Nigeria 34-10 in opening duel of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games that doubled up as the Africa Cup Sevens. He scored a try in their last pool victory against Zambia 38-12 after beating Namibia 50-0.
Amaitsa would score a try as Kenya bundled out Zimbabwe 33-10 in the semi-finals on their way to stunning South Africa 17-12 in the final. He was also in the squad that beat Samurai 19-0 to retain the Safari Sevens title.
“I was really nervous during the first match against Nigeria but after the three tries, I was itching for more tries. I gain confidence with every match,” said Amaitsa, who took up rugby after attending several sessions with Western Bulls at Kakamega High School back in 2013.
“We used to leave near Kakamega High School and I was more fascinated with rugby rather than football, which my was dad Ezekiel Mboya’s favourite,” said Amaitsa, who cleared Primary school at Moses Mudavadi Primary School in Vihiga before joining Musingu High School in 2016.
Though Amaitsa joined Machakos University in 2021, he played for Western Bulls upon completing High School in 2019. He left Machakos University in January this year when he joined Strathmore University as an IT student.
Amaitsa is happy that Kenya Sevens qualified for their third Olympic Games, but said they have no choice but win the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series next year and return to the World Rugby Sevens Series.
“That will be my joy since my ultimate dream is to play in the World Series,” said Amaitsa.
“Dubai Invitational tournament is good but that isn’t our league. We should aim for something better and my colleagues know that.”
Amaitsa is among the players Wambua has opted to maintain from the squad that won the Olympic qualifiers and Africa Cup. Herman Humwa and Brian Mutugi retained their spots in the team with Vincent Onyala and Tony Omondi sharing the captaincy.
George Ooro makes a return to the Shujaa squad having missed the team’s successful campaign at the Safari Sevens.
Anthony Omondi, Vincent Onyala (Co-Captains), Kevin Wekesa, John Okoth, Herman Humwa,William Mwanji, Brian Tanga, Samuel Asati, Nygel Amaitsa, Festus Shiasi, Patrick Odongo, Brian Mutugi, George Ooro