Mwamba RFC’s newly elected treasurer Anthony Karanja has his plate really full. Apart from the crucial administrative work in the club hierarchy, he is an active back row for the club and is spending hours in the gym and on the training field under fitness coach Dr James Ondiege in readiness for the 2015/2016 Kenya Cup.
Away from rugby, Karanja has a demanding job at one of the country’s biggest financial services firm that requires a lot of travelling to different parts of the country.
MwambaRugby.Com managed to track him down and have a chat with him about his rugby and personal life.
Mwamba Rugby: When did you start playing rugby?
Anthony Karanja: I started playing rugby when I joined High School at Lenana School in Form 1.
MR: Who influenced you to join rugby other than any other sport in the school?
It wasn’t someone in particular, rather joining Lenana School where the culture of rugby is deeply embedded. An inter-house rugby match was a greater occurence than any inter-school activity happening.
MR: Who was greatest influence in your early rugby career?
AK: My family was very supportive, even though at times I would get into fights with my mother as she didn’t want me to continue playing the sport, she is still one of my greatest supporters. I owe it all to her.
AK: I joined Mwamba in 2006. I had stayed out of rugby for a year, that was the most boring one year of my life, hahahahaha.
MR: Did you have any another option?
Impala RFC maybe. Most of the guys we were in school with and even years ahead of us ended up there.
MR: What made you choose Mwamba Rugby?
AK: For me at first it was the convenience, it is in the CBD so no hustle trying to cut right across the city to get to training. Also, I loved the club’s playing structure and game plays.
MR: Your first impression of the club was….
AK: The place I wanted to be.
MR: How did you adopt and cope?
AK: In all honesty it was very easy. When I joined the club I got so many guys that were almost my age, so we bonded easily.
MR: As a rookie you must have had someone who was shielding you from bullies….
AK: Ben Amboko was like my big bro, he shielded me from bullies and gave me valuable tips on playing the game. We played the same position. Quicks (Richard Nyakwaka) was one of the biggest bullies. I hope he doesn’t read this!
MR: Did you ever quit Mwamba Rugby for any other club? Why?
AK: The same year I joined Mwamba, August 2006, I was admitted to Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in the western town of Kakamega and I had to move from Nairobi. In between during one of my long holidays I had a short stint at Strathmore Leos in 2008.
In 2010 right after the national sevens circuit, I had a nasty groin injury that laid me off, coupled with a tight work schedule, for close to two years.
MR: You’ve battled injuries over the last couple seasons, how is your fitness at the moment?
AK: I have indeed had my fair share of injuries for a number of seasons, from a concussion I sustain in the Enterprise Cup last year, to fracturing my big toe a couple of weeks ago. Currently, I have been working on my strength, endurance and core skills under the watch full eye of my trainer just to make sure that I am in shape come the start of the season.
MR: How’s your current training schedule like with a demanding day job?
AK: It’s never easy I must say, particularly because my job demands that I travel a lot, I just make sure that even though I am not around I follow up with what the team is doing and make sure that I am up to speed.
MR: An inspirational figure at Mwamba Rugby?
AK: For me it has to be my prayer band of John Mbai, Mark Muriithi ‘Marcus” and Brian Otieno “Wakili”.
MR: Back to administrative duties, not the first time you are being elected Treasurer of the club?
It is actually the first time that I have been elected. Previously, I had been co-opted into the Executive Committee of the club, and when the then Club Treasurer, Edwin Teya, resigned from the post, I assumed office in an Acting capacity.
MR: How is it being a player and at the same time having crucial administrative duties at the club?
AK: It’s not easy because I have a lot on my plate, but I have an amazing support system both in the Executive and Technical team that makes it easy for me to execute both roles.
MR: Season outlook…both as a player and a treasurer….
AK: As a player, I want to win, and win everything on the table, from Floodlights, Kenya Cup, and Enterprise. As Club Treasurer, for me this year is about building structures that will improve the club fortunes and make it into a top side not only in Kenya, but globally.
MR: What’s your plan for this club…financially speaking?
AK: In discussion with the Investment arm of the club, we are seeking to make partnerships that will improve the financial muscle of the club and thus grow our portfolio.
In a few years to come it will be a joy to have Mwamba Rugby Limited shares trading in the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
MR: Challenges facing the club?
AK: Lack of a permanent home.
MR: What don’t we know about you?
AK: Everybody knows this, I am born again and Christ is Lord and Savior of my life (I had to make it clear).
MR: Dating? Married?
AK: Yes I am dating, marriage news will be announced soon.
MR: R- Family…..
AK: R Family budaaaaaa…