Harlequins quartet relishing excellence in rugby and academics

Harlequins quartet relishing excellence in rugby and academics

Frank Khalwale (R) of Quins RFC celebrate with teammate Patrice Agunda (L) after scoring against Impala RFC during their Kenya Cup match played at RFUEA ground on January 28, 2016. Quins won 36-26. Photo/Stafford Ondego/ SportPicha LTD

  • Frank Khalwale graduated with a Degree in Law, Anthony Abonyo graduated with a Degree in Architecture, Boniface Ochieng with an Engineering degree while Oliver Musyoka also got a degree.
  • The four, like many other rugby players in the country, say the quest of academic excellence is a long term plan for livelihood beyond their days in the sport.  

December 2021, four players from Kenya Cup side Kenya Harlequins graduated with different undergraduate degrees from the University of Nairobi.

Frank Khalwale graduated with a Degree in Law, Antony Abonyo graduated with a Degree in Architecture, Boniface Ochieng with an Engineering degree while Oliver Musyoka also got a degree.

The four, like many other rugby players in the country, say the quest of academic excellence is a long term plan for livelihood beyond their days in the sport.  

Thus, to them, rugby is just a hobby, while more energy and investment is put on academic excellence for good careers.

It however calls for maximum focus and determination both fronts to excel in both areas.

According to Boniface Ochieng, his biggest challenge while at the University of Nairobi was balancing between rugby and studies.

“Time management was the biggest challenge because classes in the Engineering course start from 8:00am all the way 6:00pm, while training at Quins starts from 5:00pm. At some point I had to choose between training and classes,” said Ochieng.

Obonyo faced the same challenge: “To be on top of the game you need to train extra hard, because there is competition out there considering the rich talent in Kenya. There is also the course work to do, and to succeed in architecture studies I had to be committed to the work. I had therefore to strike a balance between studio work and training,” he said.

The two have strongly feel all sportsmen in the country need to take the same direction, to diversify their career risks upon retirement from the sports fields.

“First priority is education because Kenyan rugby doesn’t pay that much, and it’s not something to depend on entirely. In Kenya, you play rugby as a hobby, out of passion not for money. With that in mind so you take your studies seriously because education opens many doors,” said Ochieng, adding the sport to him is a stress reliever, for enjoyment and a platform for connections and new friends.

Obonyo echoed the sentiments, saying the only way to be impactful to the society to the old age is by acquiring quality education and fitting in a career, even for sportsmen.

“Everything in life is about balance so when you get old and stop playing you have already established yourself outside rugby in a way that you can sustain your life, and impact others. It can be sad after flying high Kenya’s flag and once you retire your story ends there,” said Abonyo.

Kenya Harlequins team manager Charles Njoroge congratulated the four, saying it the best way way to go.

“There is life after rugby and that life you make it through education, so when you retire your life goes on. You don’t depend only on rugby only, and you can’t wait until you retire to start preparing for the next phase of life” said Njoroge.

The four player’s play for Kenya Harlequins and the national teams and, and are looking forward to a successful 2022 season.

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