Who is Andrew Amonde?
I was born and raised in Kisumu. I am the second born in a family of eight. I come from a humble background, as my parents are both teachers. I have been an introvert since childhood.
What does being the captain of Kenya’s Rugby Sevens team mean to you?
It is a lot of responsibility; you are in charge of everyone. As the captain, I put on many hats: I represent the other players and so I am the medium between the players, the coach and technical team. When players are low, it is my job to lift their spirits and encourage them. I sometimes even give pep talks whenever necessary.
How long have you been playing rugby?
Ironically, rugby was not my first sport of choice. I am 6’2’’ tall, which made me always assume I was too tall for rugby. In fact, in high school, I dedicated myself to basketball. I ventured into rugby after high school and have been in the game for about nine years. So far so good.
What made you switch from basketball to rugby?
After high school in 2002, the late Andrew Okwaro (formerly of Kisumu Rugby Football Club), who was then my neighbour, convinced me try out rugby. I guess he saw some potential in me and I am forever grateful that he took interest in me. He also played rugby in his youth, so he taught me the basics and even bought me my first pair of boots. I played for Kisumu RFC from 2004 to 2005 before I moved to Nairobi to further my studies. While studying Television Production at East Africa Media School, I joined Kenya Commercial Bank rugby team where I am still a player to date.
Do you ever miss doing what you studied in college?
I miss being a production editor. I really enjoyed the course and you never know, maybe one day in the future I will practise it.
How long have you been the captain of the Kenya Rugby Sevens team?
For two years, though I have played for the team for six years.
When you began playing rugby, did you ever imagine it would bring you this far?
I never ever imagined that one day I would be playing for the national team, let alone being the captain. Sometimes I look back at how far I have come and I cannot believe it.
What is your career high point so far?
That has got to be playing in the World Cup and making it all the way to the semi-finals.
What position do you play?
When I play for the National Sevens team, I am a forward and a flanker when I play for KCB.
Give us a glimpse into your training schedule?
I train every day because I train with both the national team and my club, but this is a small price to pay to do what I love. I don’t complain. On weekdays, I start my training from 6am, but this depends on the matches ahead.
Being a rugby player is no joke; what do you eat to maintain such a physique?
My diet is not so different from anyone else’s, but I have to eat a lot of protein as it helps in building muscle.
It is such a risky game; do you ever get scared you might one day walk out of the field disabled?
I love the sport and the opportunity to represent my country gives me a lot of joy. Because of rugby, I have travelled all over the world. I have been to New Zealand, Australia, States, Russia, Scotland, England, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai to name just a few. Doesn’t that outweigh the risk?
Does rugby pay all the bills or do you have a side hustle?
lt depends on how you live and what you value. I am simple man with simple needs. I live off rugby, and this is all I do with my life.
You were recently appointed the ambassador for Guinness and you must be smiling all the way to the bank. How much does the title come with and how does it feel?
I feel good because I guess they must have liked something in me to the point of giving me such a responsibility. It feels good to be recognised. I will be the brand ambassador for four years. As for the cash, I choose not to comment.
Rugby comes with a lot of fame as well as women; how do you remain focused?
To play rugby or any other sport, you have to have a certain level of discipline. You only need to know what is right and wrong as well as your limits.
What is you biggest career fear?
My biggest fear is that one day I will have to stop playing rugby and say goodbye to a sport I have come to love and respect. I hope to play for a long time.
How do you recharge after a gruesome time in the field?
I hang out with friends and visit my mum and dad at home. I also take a ten-day rest to recover after every major game.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I believe my future is in God’s hands.