Philip Wokorach in Ten

Quick ten questions with Philip Wokorach- Uganda & Kabras Sugar

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Credits: Ragahouse

This week, The Bench got the opportunity to feature sensational Uganda Rugby player Philip Wokorach who also doubles up as Kabras Sugar half back/full back.

In both brief and, at the same time, lengthy questions we  interact and explore his rugby lifestyle, hits and misses in ten (plus an extra topping question of course). From his heroics at the Elgon cup, the Africa Sevens Championships at Kasarani last year to the fair travels in the HSBC Circuit… Meet the man!

TB: You have been a notable member for the Uganda 7s and 15s alike, when did you get acquitted into the sport?

PW: When I was still in Primary School,I joined the Tag Rugby Programme at my school and later Kyadondo Rugby Club

2016 was a great one for Uganda , both in 15s & 7s, winning the Africa cup 7s participating in Capetown 7s, particularly a great one for you starting from the performance in the Elgon Cup. What moment in that period (inclusive of those I haven’t mentioned) would you fancy as your most memorable?

The Africa Cup Sevens championship win in Kenya, we were not fancied to make any impact due to the new names and lack of experience but the boys put in good shift, played with passion to overcome whatever challenge we came across. And I liked it the most because the team just clicked even with the little time we had to train together, we enjoyed every game we played

You signed for Kenya’s Kabras Sugar switching camp from Heathens how would you compare the level of competitiveness in both the two nations?

Rugby in Kenya is more structured in all aspects including Administration unlike in Uganda So that enables teams to be better prepared in terms of sponsorship, player welfare this makes them more competitive in the league

According to reports, you have been at Kabras twice now, first in 2014 then last year. Why did you go back the first time?

I had to go back and finish my studies so I couldn’t remain with the club for long period

Kabras Sugar are having a rather a hard time lately in the league, unlike they did last season, is it the tough competition among teams? Or is it a change of tact at the club?

Clubs have become more competitive this season I should say, a couple of injuries and missing players may have affected us a little

You are athletic and stealthy, just like the game requires, what is your training regime like?

Always try to make sure I work on my weaknesses but work even harder on my strengths. Fitness and health is #1 that means hitting the gym more often, then practice my kicking after training sessions whenever I get the chance, the rest are worked upon during the team training sessions.

How often do you step to the gym in a week?

Well I used to step there at least 3 times a week when I was back in Uganda but now I probably go there at least once a day here at Kabras

When at the gym what key muscle groups do you majorly work on? And how? E.g Shoulder, Military Press, 6 sets of 15 reps each.

Quadriceps, hamstrings,calves, the back and the trapezius. Usually do the dead lift, squats and lunges but switch it up according the club program, I normally do 3 sets, and reps its till I burn out

In improving their overall physicality whilst keeping a good diet, how often do you take meals and snacks in a day? What are the quantities of say carbs, proteins & vitamins?

I have at least 3 meals a day, snacks every after a workout session which varies on some days.

I take in 96 grams of protein and a moderate amount of carbohydrates since am at my target weight!

Rugby as well as other sports all over has been rocked with doping claims. What is your take on use of performance enhancing drug?

We must all try to keep rugby clean, it’s unfair and unethical that some players use performance enhancing drugs which makes it an unfair playing field for other players especially in a sport like rugby that requires a lot of skill, effort and sacrifice by all players in order to be a the very top.

Lastly, assuming you are a S&C in each of the following teams, pick a player  from each that you deem to be the fittest: Uganda’s Heathens, Kenya’s Kabras Sugar, Uganda 15s & Kenya 15s

Vincent  Mose (heathens), Fidel  Oloo (Kabras). Philip wokorach (Uganda 15s) and Darwin mukidza (Kenya 15s)

 

Side note: In a parallel ‘page’, our edition of the monthly Kenya Cup review still continues, in case you all thought it was a one-off thing, Kenya Cup in February edition is a must read. But for now, I decided to break the monotony and do things the old fashioned way- interview features on the site. In case you haven’t been catching up on previews, reviews on match days and things Kenya 7s, like our Facebook page for the tit-bits.

Kenya Cup returns

The much anticipated kick off of the Kenya Cup is finally nigh, the gruesome three-four weekends of watching the now cliché dominance of the All blacks outfit are about to get a kick for life. Considering that this weekend we have nearly zero rugby to watch/attend, the thought of the 2016-2017 season kick off should be a sigh of relief, from the agony of having to plot a whole weekend with a clique of football addicts. Better still to have a hint of a few pointers for the up coming season.

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These are the trying times of a sports enthusiast, you are watching your Kenya Cup team thwart a victory out of another but on the extreme end your bet on Sportpesa  is heading to the gutters, because Manchester…  you had better placed your money on the Kenya cup fixture!

Moving on with the theme though, the 2015-2016 season was an interesting one with both the colorful, grey and pitch black experiences .  We witnessed fantastic rugby action with the double header weekends, we had surprising results (when Blad beat Nondies & Kulabu ‘rained’ supreme and so much more). Not to forget a resurgent whiff of the team from Ngong road and the swift return of the Cup to Western Kenya, a moment that was worth the attendance.

Heading into 2016-2017, the script can only improve, with the standards getting better with every passing weekend, increased corporate involvement and explosive talent on the loose, the stakes are higher than we think. A quick review of the just ended National  7s circuit, had me jot down a few pointers worth to look up to as November 5 draws near… have a look:

Menengai uprising

Everything in existence has its peak performance period, what I would refer as ‘The Zone’. Stepping stones gently and willingly fall in place for you and not just by sheer luck, but hard work and resilience. Of course investment has to do its bit too.

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Former PM, Raila Odinga presents Menengai Cream Homeboyz with the 2016 Dala 7s winners cup

That was the footing with Homeboyz rugby at the Sevens circuit, scooping a record four cup titles of the available six and managing all cup final appearances. Opportunity had finally met hard work. With the entourage of seasoned players from Strathmore the Deejays became a lethal force, they ticked the right check boxes. Kabras Sugar had the same result last season and finally getting the priceless silverware back to Western Kenya. Mind you, it was just on their second attempt at the cup final, falling to KCB in the first attempt.

After much galore at the shorter version, Homeboyz should reciprocate the same performance in the longer stint. Assuming we discredit their Floodies 2016 performance and start on a clean slate, they should be a force to reckon with in upcoming weekends

Kabras title defence

Two seasons in the Kenya Cup and they are a force of reckon, spurring interests from all quarters, you’d think they have been there for eons.

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Defending Kabras Rugby line up a photo with the 2015/2016 Kenya Cup trophy

It would be unwise not to mention that besides Impala, they are the other team that beat Homeboyz in the sevens circuit, doing in a domineering fashion at the Christie Sevens. That done away with though, the team from the sugar belt did some pretty interesting signings… just look at the previous season’s team and add to that Dan Sikuta and Philip Wokorach, depth I tell you!

Wait we haven’t even talked about Brian Tanga and Aluda Beda, that sensational duo.

Resolution Impala repechage

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Resolution Impala Saracens line up a scrum against KCB in last season’s encounter.

Not a repechage as such, but a second attempt at the Kenya Cup is what I mean;  just basking in some minute wittiness of using technical terms.

Not many vetted Impala to make it to the cup final at the start of last season, up to mid way into the season. They hard let out the spikes and cut across any team, the incorporation of the global Saracens and Resolution Health worked, just look at the club’s name, Resolution Impala Saracens. There is harmony and all entities are well represented- Imagine if they got into another deal with a bank for instance, think of the names… Equity Resolution Impala Saracens, lol.

But that’s just depth and plenty of hard work by the players and management as a whole, taking a case study of Kabras and their road to the cup final a second time and winning it. I wouldn’t be shocked if we have a repeat final of the two. They already showed the grit at the Floodies 2016, taking the onus off, up to then the defending champs, KCB.  We should be prepped for a resolute season from this Ngong Road outfit.

Championship league

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This is a tier just as equally competitiveness as the Kenya Cup. Drawing top two finishers from all Nationwide regions and last season’s Kenya Cup drops, the Championship will be an intense one. Many a times we selfishly keep our focus on the Kenya Cup, forgetting the minor leagues we have- trust me that’s where superb action is. Only thing that is hardly present is your presence, yes, you the enthusiast!

Ask any player that has played in a competitive Nationwide set up; Rift Valley and Western regions, they know how competitive it is. But that aside, the key note is to have you diversify your span of attending rugby games. We always want more action, no we have it. In your weekend schedules don’t forget to attend a game or two of the Championship league. Better yet , you can pick a favorite there too, all the way to the Nationwide league.

Lastly, I would fancy a corporate involvement in the league, it would be so sad to launch a noble idea and see teams fail to honor fixtures.

The season long derbies

If at all you never manage to watch and/or attend weekend fixtures, then be smart and pick enticing duels to attend. The derbies season is back; Ngong Road derby, Rai Cup derby, University derby, Minnows derby, liveliest-and-loudest fanatics derby…

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Ngong Road derby

 

So many derbies are back make sure you don’t miss.

And just as I sign off champs you can opt to up your wrist game and grab a branded shambala off #TheBenchKE  for only KSh. 350 ($3.2), get in touch at 0738221661.

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The Bench KE branded shambala

Tag a friend, who should tag another friend who should also tag another friend.  All for the thrill of the game

#TwendeGameTujengeGame

Kenya Cup Round 6

Tumekula, tumeshiba , tumerudi makwetu now we can start shading of the extra kilos we bagged late last year and… ”
That is an unfinished paragraph for what is my first article of 2016, I intended to jot down how ecstatic I am for the fresh new year, the return of the rugby action from the Kenya cup to the six nations cup and a preview of 2015 but all that proved to be futile, I couldn’t go on… something was amiss.

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In memory of Geoffery Githaiga

The sudden untimely departure of one Geoffery Githaiga, immediate former captain of Strathmore Leos, nagged me when the social media platforms blew up with the news. I must admit, I never shared a word let alone the same bench with him unlike a number of you who will read this, but I did seat at the side stands (in tournaments I attended) and watch the ‘short brown’ guy play his role at 9 so well for the Leos.
I would often notice his efficiency, for a small player among the giants in the field you had to, something I would fondly liken to one Kevin Ogao. Githaiga marked his presence at almost every break down, as his role suggested and always taking the tackles as low as possible no matter who came through. On a number of them he would succeed on others he would be ‘served’ but, expertise is when he sprung back up to action… he is gone now, probably pushing ball with the greatest, Lomu and Friends RFC.

wp-1451980316331.jpegChamp, you were loved here on earth but God’s love supersedes all, here is to your legacy! Rest In Peace.
Kenya Cup

The Kenya cup first half hit its crescendo, with four different league leaders in five weekends. A series of upsets and near century scores were recorded, the debutants baptism of fire was prolonged to the final weekend; it isn’t a level playground after all. It’s fair to conclude the level of competition among top clubs is on the rise whilst little is to be said about the debutants (by which I mean, Nationwide).
Deep into the year, I pray that the union looks into the Nationwide league, there is a real problem. That’s where raw talent is harnessed; to improve and even the level of competition in the Kenya Cup, the ‘Big Office’ at Ngong road should try and lay more focus on the same league, introduce corporate and funding, kitting too is a menace down there. Team inapanda Kenya Cup inaoshwa game one hadi ya mwisho, na inashuka. What rugby is that surely…
I’m just a man at the side Bench typing away my thoughts…

Round 6...

That aside, we are heading to the sixth weekend of the Kenya Cup, with Kenya Harlequins starting at the helm of things, after dubbing 57 past Blak Blad, to 12. Strathmore Leos slumped to fourth place after losing to Mwamba RFC, while KCB went up to second place winning 40-15 over unlucky Kabras Sugar. Resolution Impala Saracens are at 3rd on the standings having shocked Nakuru RFC 26-18 at NAC. The big one had to be Western Bulls first win of the season, collected in their final game of the year against Mean Machine, boy, a win is a win!

Resolution Impala Saracens vs. Kenya Sharks. (+12 Impala)

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Impala start the New Year on a good foot landing a duel against an unlucky Kenya Sharks, who have collected no win since their debut. Going into the New Year maybe the tide will change and we might be showcased with a different Sharks outfit in this rematch, the host won 64-5.
Saracens Impala have so far kept a clean sheet in the last four weekends, back-to-back with a single loss to Quins in the season opener. Even though I wish to see a win for Kenya Sharks, the stretch of wins for Impala will seemingly continue for them in round 6.
Blak Blad vs. Mean Machine (+5 Blad)
The battle of campuses; both teams have one win each in the past weekend, with Blad beating Thika 5-0 in round two while Machine saw off the same team, Thika, 34-5 in round 4.

wp-1451980621571.jpegThis would also have been a battle of the minnows (according to standings) but thanks to an unforgiving closure of the year 2015, the playing field was level. I would flip my coin in favor of Blad to see off Machine on a narrow margin though.
Mwamba vs. Thika RFC (+10 Kulabu)
Mwamba pulled a nickel and a dime in the final action weekend of 2015 to beat the standings leaders then, Strathmore Leos, and subsequently squash their unbeaten run. The result? Leos slumped to fourth. Sweetest victory for Kulabu so far!

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Against Millars, I see Kulabu finishing on top, unless festive season demons go hunting after them; you know the way one time Kulabu are smoking hot and untouchables then the next they are the exact opposite? Well, My Kulabu, be that impervious rock I think you are. Thank you.
Thika Millars, as I typed this specific paragraph Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ was playing in the background.. Silly coincidence I guess. But a resolution to return to winning ways in 2016 must have been drafted; I wish you all the best.
Strathmore Leos vs. Menengai Cream Homeboyz (+3 to HBR)

wp-1451980752112.jpegThis match is a derby for match day 6, both teams have even record in so far, 4-in-5 wins, the Deejays losing to Nondescripts in the first weekend whilst Strathmore Leos were out done by Mwamba.

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Strath in action against Kulabu in a past match

Homeboyz rugby had the upper hand in their last encounter against the Leos, edging them a narrow 18-15 win in the 2014/2015 Kenya cup season.
Homeboyz beat Mwamba, Mwamba beat Strathmore… prediction sorted.

KCB vs. Western Bulls. (+10 KCB)

wp-1451980792069.jpegI believe the last two meetings pitting these two teams; Bankers have always been the obvious winners of the duel. This season it will not be any different, the form of Western Bulls is slowly deteriorating unless something is done- according to close of business in December.

wp-1448544037159.jpegNot to entirely rule them out though, it’s a new year and things might change up ahead.
Nakuru RFC vs. Nondescripts (+5 Nakuru)

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Nondies’ Kanyi earnestly receiving…

Nakuru rubbed Nondies 31-14 in the first encounter (Round 2) at RFUEA grounds, and this being a home game for Wanyore they sure look to reclaim the pride of Suguta valley after that shocking loss to Impala.
Nondies have only two losses, to the hosts and Kenya Harlequins, they sure want to start the year on a high with a win over Nakuru…
I know someone somewhere is all about that vibe; Nondies beat Homeboyz, Homeboyz beat Nakuru sooo… So Nakuru will beat them again, at least as per my expectations.
Kabras Sugar vs. Kenya Harlequins. (+3 Kabras)

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Quins maul against Kabras in a past match

This is certainly the Derby of The Day.
Quins beat Kabras 19-17 in Round 2, thanks to Lyle Asiligwa’s precise kick in the final play. The match was hotly contested and I see no difference this weekend. Kabras Sugar have been on a low key performance trail for a team that finished runners up last season, not to mention the heavy investment in the pre-season.

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yeah, quins won the first round…

Kenya Harlequins closed first quarter/half of the Kenya Cup at number one with absolute wins from round one to five. With the change of the leading role experienced in November-December they ought to be cautious heading to Kakamega because there is a saying that… “You don’t let the same flame burn twice”.

There goes my 2 cents on Kenya Cup Round 6, its only better you schedule a Kenya Cup game in your weekend plan, its purely worth it. Go watch the gents square it out against each other and cheer them on. #TWENDEGAMETUJENGEGAME