While Andola Is Away, Marvin Sumba Shall Display

When he joined St. Georges Primary School in Nairobi, Marvin Sumba never imagined that he would be travelling to Uganda to not only further his education, but also meet the definition of his life- Rugby.

The player who has recently risen within the Strathmore Leos ranks as a newcomer, first making his rugby debut at the ESS is a glowing splint, waiting to raze the whole rugby savannah.

Marvin Sumba in action

Marvin Sumba in action


He remembers his first view of a rugby ball in Chavakali High School, where he was for only one year, in 2004 and describes it as tempting. His travel to Uganda to join the London College of St. Lawrence for his 0 and A levels not only opened him up to 5 more years of a different curriculum, but also created the best platform, from which he slowly built the pillars of his rugby future.

It was in Uganda that he met current KCB hooker George Asin, Uganda Rugby Union’s 2009 MVP John Musoke and Nondies goose master Leslie Ray Ochieng. Oscar Mango, current Homeboyz Team manager would work closely enough with Sumba, mentoring him in preparation for handing him the captain’s armband when he left the London College of St. Lawrence in 2007.

In 2008, a young but confident Sumba would not disappoint as he steered his school team to winning the national 7s trophy as well as for the first time in school history, engineered his team to their first national 15s finals appearance. His success as school team captain was top-dressed in 2009 by an appearance at the East Africa Schools’ Rugby  Championship finals only to bow down to Fabian Olando’s Kakamega High School.

Club rugby

His next stop after completing his high school education was the MTN Heathens, where he had a rather short stint. He came back home and found warmth in the Strathmore Leos, a team whose XXVII motto he flaunts, tattooed on his upper arm. ‘ The Leos have done a lot for me, first, they offered me a scholarship to study a Bachelors’ degree in Business Information Technology and have also cultivated in me a sense of belonging, and it is fun playing here, I have no plans of leaving’, he assures.

When I asked about Kenny Andola being a shadow to his success and game time at the Madaraka based club, he was quick to give me a lesson on game approach. He believes that Andola is not a shadow, but a chance to enable him perfect his style of play which is very different from Andola’s.

‘It depends on how we wants to approach the game. If a match requires us to keep the ball and play it more often and at pace, I always get the starting 10 jersey. But if the team is playing against a team known for defence, Andola always gets to start as his boot is well suited for territorial play’.

Marvin who made his Kenya Cup debut in a match against The Lunch Bar Quins in 2012, sums up the experience in the following words- ‘Baptism of Fire’. He however has posted enormous improvement in character and resilience in his approach and earlier on this year, earned a Simba XV provisional squad call up.

It is only a matter of time before he breaks into the legends’ playground, showcasing flair, ingenuity and versatility while donning the lion embroidered Jersey, the pinnacle of Kenya Rugby.

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