Roy Nandwa’s Rugby Journey

Let’s travel back in time, to 10th June 2015, A Wednesday Evening like any other but a unique one for Roy. A well renowned trainer in Bungoma, is walking out of Bungoma Highschool after supervising the rugby team’s training session.

The trainer has a rugby ball in his hand, and this catches the attention of the young man, who runs upto him and requests to hold the ball alittle bit. The trainer can spot the eagerness and enthusiasm the young man has, and quickly asks for his name and the sport he plays, to which Roy responds with his name and goes ahead to state that he plays football.

The trainer takes note that the young man looks athletic, and since Roy is donning the Bungoma DEB Primary School Uniform, he asks him which class he is in, to which Roy says, “I’m in class eight.” Roy then asks whether he could join rugby, but the trainer advises him to complete his primary school studies first and then join them.

Six months later, Roy shows up for training and the trainer quickly recognises him. He watches keenly as the boy goes through the necessary fitness drills, and after afew weeks, he believes the boy is ready to play.

They head down to Bukembe with the local team, and Roy gets a chance to play in the second team. His first game against Bukembe B he scores a stunning try, right after kick off. Showing great speed,strength and endurance to land the try. The trainer also notes his great defensive abilities, something that has stuck with Roy to this very day.

The next weekend the team is headed to Webuye, and Roy also gets a couple of minutes off the bench. It was this experiences that shaped the young man’s perception of Rugby and he has never looked back.

January 2016

It’s time to say goodbye, as the trainer heads back to Nairobi to continue with his studies and also his rugby career in the big city, Roy is also off to Kapsokwony Highschool in Mount Elgon Sub-county.

The trainer, though, is not convinced that Kapsokwony will help Roy grow rugby-wise, so he pulls afew strings and in no time, Roy Nandwa is called to Menengai Highschool which is well known for Rugby.

While at Menengai Highschool, he gets a chance to train with Menengai Oilers, from Nakuru, something which impacts his rugby life and completely improves his understanding of the game and his abilities, he manages to play both at the nationals and at the East Africa school games during the four years that he is in Menengai.

During school holidays, he remained active, turning up for his team in Bungoma, and also continuing to link up with his former trainer.

After Highschool, the corona outbreak brought everything to a standstill, but the Young man stayed focussed, preferring to remain in Nakuru and train with the Menengai Oilers rugby club. This would later pay off this year when he was called up to the Kenya Under 20 team.

When he was brought on in the 63rd minute against Senegal, his trainer burst into song and dance, and then a week later the young man was also brought on in the 60th minute against Madagascar, much to the excitement of his trainer who recorded an audio of himself singing praises for the young man in the native Bukusu language.

It’s important to note, that when he got called up to the Under 20 national team, members of his home team commonly referred to as Wazalendo, held a fundraiser to help him obtain a passport.

He became the first Bungoma Wazalendo member, to win the Under 20 Barthes Cup and the third to have played for the Under 20 team, when they narrowly beat Madagascar in the final. For the young man the sky is the limit as he seeks to make it to the senior national team.


Roy Nandwa Is Officially The First Bungoma Wazalendo Member To Win The Barthes Under 20 Cup

Roy Nandwa in action

Roy Nandwa is the first player from the Bungoma Wazalendo franchise, to win the coveted Barthes Under 20 Rugby Cup, this came after a dramatic victory against Madagascar at Nyayo National Stadium this afternoon.

The Kenya Under 20 team, fondly referred to as Chipu, had to hold off a resurgent Madagascar side to win the match 21-20.

The young man from Bungoma county, who plays his club rugby at Menengai Oilers in Nakuru, was brought on in the sixty third minute, and wasted no time in announcing his arrival with a big tackle down the right wing. Moments later he carried the ball intensely into Madagascar’s half, and afew minutes to the end of the match he turn-overed the ball, just as Madagascar were building momentum and getting closer to Kenya’s 22.

A try by Madagascar in the dying moments of the game, would bring them within a point of Kenya’s lead, but the ensuing conversion sailed wide, much to the excitement of Kenya’s players who burst into song and dance as the final whistle was blown.

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Musalia Mudavadi alongside other dignitaries, were on standby to congratulate the team as they awaited the Match between Kenya Simbas and Zambia.

Cameo Debut For Roy Nandwa, As Kenya Under 20 Whip Senegal Under 20

Roy Nandwa poses for a picture during the Kenya Under 20 photo session

Roy Nandwa, has officially become the third member of the Bungoma Wazalendo Rugby Franchise to play for the Kenya Under 20.

This comes a week after he made his Kenya Cup debut for Menengai Oilers, coming in as a second half substitute in the 60th minute in their win against Masinde Muliro University.

For the 18 year old Menengai Highschool Alumnus, the journey to the top has had it’s fair share of challenges, but he has been resilient, always ready to improvise, adapt and work hard.

Today, that hardwork paid off, when he was brought into the game against Senegal, in the 63rd minute. It’s a dream come true for the young man, since he has always wanted to don the national team jersey.

They’re set to play against Madagascar later next week, and hopefully they win and defend the Barthes Under 20 cup which Kenya won in 2019. With the absence of their main rivals, Namibia, victory for Kenya looks assured.

He could potentially, become the first Wazalendo member, to play at the Junior World Rugby Tournament should Kenya win against Madagascar.

The dream is not yet over for the young man, and with consistency and hardwork, he could feature for the Senior national team.

May God bless the young man.

Here at Wazalendo we say HONGERA.

Wazalendo Under 20

Five patriots had the honour of taking part in the Kenya Rugby Under 20 trials earlier on today, which were conducted at the Kenya Rugby Union grounds home to Kenya rugby giants Kenya Harlequins RFC.

Roy Nandwa, a Wazalendo protege, was his usual self, running those dangerously elusive lines on attack and displaying rock solid defence when he was needed to. His ability to play any position in the backline is an added advantage for him.

Obed Nyabika, playing at his preferred scrum half position, was on fire with his well timed passes putting the forwards in to space. His ability to martial forwards was also on display, with the coaches seemingly impressed by it.

Ken Obel despite not getting much game time, is a player to watch and he proved that with a huge defensive hit on an opponent when he was brought in. He’s an exemplary quick forward with an ability to play in the second row and back row positions with great comfort.

Quinton Plimo is as dangerous on defence as he is on attack. Playing in the open side prop position his abilities at scrum time proved useful, and earned him the attention of the headcoach among other coaches that were present and also took notice.

The crown though, goes to Austin Aunyasi, he’s barely 10 months old in rugby having joined the sport May of last year (2020). He was quite unfortunate not to play rugby in Highschool, but that definitely did not stop the young lad from joining the Wazalendo Rugby team last year, and now he’s on the verge of getting selected to the Kenya Under 20 national team. The future looks bright for the young man from Bungoma and here at Wazalendo we wish him all the very best.

The official list of all those who’ll be selected to join the training camp will be unveiled in two weeks time.

Viva Wazalendo

X-factor Player

Earlier on we captured the return of Ken Obel ‘Harry Kane ‘ , the question that now remains in everyone’s mind after watching him play on Sunday is a simple one, “Is Ken Obel the next Songoi?”

Ken Obel might not be as physical as Songoi was, but the young man is certainly strong and quick. What he lacks for in his attack is compensated in his defence, he can really put a shoulder on those clean defensive hits and this makes him overally better than Songoi.

The Kabula Highschool alumnus joined the Wazalendo rugby Academy in 2018, and underwent the entire Wazalendo rugby training program that’s known for its intensity. Very few people make it past the first week of the program, which consists of thorough endurance, strength and conditioning drills. After a full year of conditioning and awareness drills, the young man was a completely different rugby player.

His speed and improved skills have seen him deployed at different positions, sometimes playing in midfield and other times finding Himself far out wide at the wing. Originally he is a forward and can play in any backrow or second row position.

Whatever it is that the future holds for the young man is not known, but one thing is clear, it won’t be long before a Big club comes seeking for his signature.

The Return Of the Beasts

The Patriots prepare to welcome back four of their most lethal forwards in the new month. Former Kenya Under 20 International, James Wens Wanjala has successfully recovered from an injury sustained 6 weeks ago, and is expected to commence personal training this week before joining the rest of the team next week.

Quick forward Mike Nyando is already back at training, and was instrumental in the win against Kimilili last weekend, showing serious gas and speed to finish off a 60 metre run for the tryline.

Menengai Oilers frontrow, Mike Mare, who has been out on personal commitments is back and should be able to join fellow front row James Wens for the return back to fitness program. He is widely known for his strong ball carrying abilities as well as good scrummaging.

The return of ‘Harry Kane ‘

Arguably the best forward among the Wazalendo, Ken Obel ‘Harry Kane’ , has been out of town for over 10 weeks now and his return brings an end to the Patriots’ lineout woes. His abilities in the air also gives the Patriots a much needed advantage in terms of fielding the aerial balls.

The four are expected to be fully fit in 2 weeks time and should be ready for the Wazalendo friendly match against Kimilili Jogoo RFC in a fortnight.