Eight months ago, 22 year-old Masibo Kelvin, didn’t know that he’d be sidelined on the touchline. Raised in Kitale, the youngster once played football before rugby seduced him and even featured for Mwamba RFC. Now suffering from Spondylosis, Masibo trains Moi Arsonists and calmly describes his rugby journey.
Who is Masibo Kelvin?
Kelvin is a second year Moi University student, pursuing Bachelor of Education and a rugby athlete. I’m currently coaching the Moi Arsonists.
How did you find yourself in rugby?
You see most guys think I’ve played rugby all this time. Well, the news is I began as a football player in primary school.
So why did you snub football for rugby?
When I joined highschool, I tried several football training sessions but didn’t make it to the school team. The competition was so stiff. It is this disappointment that pushed me to start watching rugby, where the rugby captain Dan Sikuta invited me to join them.
You have not struggled in making a through pass to the Moi Arsonists first team. Why is it so?
First of all, I am a team leader. Even in high school, few months after joining the rugby team I was appointed captain. My team spirit makes my colleagues trust me with the armband. I have actually been the Arsonists captain since my freshman year.
What would you say is the greatest achievement for you, as an individual and an Arsonist?
After making my debut for Arsonists in 2016, we took part in the Christies Sevens, finishing third. However, winning 2017 Dala Sevens is one thing each Arsonist will never forget. Held in Kisumu, I scored five tries in the tournament to help my team overcome Kisii RFC, Kitale RFC (home team) and USIU RFC.
2017 was really incredible, as we finished third in the KUSA InterVarsity finals held in Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, to qualify for this year’s East Africa Games. Lest I forget, 2018 has been great, leading the Arsonists for the first time as a coach to win the Koitalel Sevens. The team finished unbeaten.
Rugby is a physical game. What challenges have you undergone as Masibo and Arsonists?
Injuries have been a huge setback. I’ve had my elbow hurt to get what they call a “tennis ball”. It is a round swelling around the elbow. Right now I’m out for eight months diagnosed with Spondylosis, where my back waistline is broken. This one is career threatening but I’m confident I’ll play soon.
Talking of injuries, adequate funds are needed to cater for the medical bills. The University has been trying but has not fully invested in us. Players have to dig into their pockets to sponsor team activities.
You say you want to play again despite this critical injury. What inspires you?
I don’t believe in quitting. There’s an Australian rugby player called Christian Lealiifano, who succumbed into Leukemia and people said it was over. As we speak, Christian is an engine for the Australian team, stronger than he was. Back to Mwamba, there’s Ronny Omondi who witnessed his wrist get twisted but recovered and still plays. These are the people that motivate me. Passion beats all odds.
Who is your role model?
Collins Injera. He plays for Kenya Sevens and I was quite lucky to train with him at Mwamba. He is a social guy who motivates upcoming stars. I also have a mentor in the Moi arena. Tony Khadambi from School of Law. He trains with Arsonists a lot and has played for top flight clubs.
Some of your future plans include?
I can’t wait to play for Kenya Sevens. Just like Injera and Humphrey Khayange, I’m also planning to enroll for Masters in Project Planning after my undergraduate program.
What would you tell an upcoming rugby player and those interested in the sport?
Work out. Work out. It will prevent you from the agony of regular injuries. Above all, be passionate and flee drugs.
Are there other games you like?
As mentioned earlier, I played football. I’m an ardent AFC Leopards and Manchester United fan. I can also play Badminton.
What is it that people don’t know about Masibo Kelvin?
I pray a lot and fellowship at Grace Chapel. Liars have no place in my heart (frowns). I’m very social and outgoing. My favourite meal is chapatti served with chicken and love cooking.
Bokez ( laughs).
Well, thanks a lot Kelvin for conversing with us. Speedy recovery and good luck.
Thanks for the invite.