Mwamba RFC’s backrow and former Kenya intenational centre Tito Oduk played his last Kenya Cup match on Saturday 16 April 2016 against Nondies RFC at Jamhuri Park. We sat down with him and this is his rugby story spanning over 25 years.
Date of birth: 08/04/78
Place of Birth: Mater Hospital Nairobi
Education: B.Comm (Management Science) Upper 2nd. A- Alliance High School 1996 (top 150 Nationally)
Siblings: 4 . Younger brother John Oduk plays for the Strathmore Leos
Marital status: Married to Makena
Professional: Real Estate- Head of Commercial & Industrial Sales; Tatu City
Club debut: 1997
Honors club: Kenya Cup Winner, 2 time Enterprise, 3 time Super Series. 3 Time top points scorer Kenya Cup, 3 Time top points scorer Super Series. 3 Times winner 7s circuit. Too many other trophies we need a whole day
Mwamba Rugby: You seemed so emotional after the Nondies game, what was going through your mind?
Tito Oduk: That it was the last time I was playing competitively. It was like a reluctant ending to a long relationship
MR: Will you miss the game?
TO: A lot, it’s a feeling not easily replicated in life.
MR: What attracted you to the game? Any particular player or teacher?
TO: My mom was a teacher in Lenana School in the 1980’s when they could still play a bit of rugby unlike today. That’s where I caught the rugby bug running around with Mitch Ocholla (former Kenya sevens international and Strathmore Leos coach).
MR: How many clubs have you played for?
TO: I have played for four clubs locally (Mwamba, Kenya Harlequins, Mean Machine and Strathmore Leos,). Internationally I have turned out for Lincoln University in New Zealand.
MR: What’s your story with Kulabu? When did you join?
TO: I joined Mwamba in 1997 straight out of the Alliance High School. It was convenient for me as it was in town. It was easy to commute from South B where we were staying.
MR: Your best Test experience?
TO: I was in the starting XV when we beat Zimbabwe in 2002. Incidentally it was my Test début.
MR: Your best club experience?
TO: The Mwamba teams that won the national sevens series in 2010 and 2011 were special times. Winning Kenya Cup in 2003 on the last play against Impala when I was at Quins. Winning Floodies with Mwamba in 2008 against Quins and many other experiences.
MR: You’ve coached a Super series franchise to victory, what does the future hold for you as a coach?
TO: Once a coach always a coach.
MR: Which coaching badges do you have?
TO: Level 4 equivalent from New Zealand. I trained at the prestigious International High Performance Unit in Christchurch NZ run by Canterbury & The Crusaders.
MR: Which player has inspired you locally and internationally?
TO: Edward Rombo (former Mean Machine and Mwamba RFC winger) was always the man. (I’m the only person who could bully him on the pitch but he was 100 years old then ha ha ha). All Blacks’ Tana Umaga because he was the Boss.
MR: Who’s your best all time coach?
TO: Locally Ken Thimba (former Kenya Harlequins head coach), he knew how to get the best out of his players. Internationally Wayne Smith of New Zealand, his thinking is way ahead of other coaches, always challenging conventional thinking.
TO: Focus on skills work rather than the gym. Your size will always catch up with your skills, but skills if ignored will never catch up with your size. Be ready to work very hard.
MR: Do you think Kulabu has what it takes to win Kenya Cup?
TO: In the next 2 years if the current crop is nurtured well and have an aggressive recruitment in the tight 5 they have a good chance.
MR: Why do they call you Undertaker?
TO: Because I always rise up when you think I’m down! Others call me Daddy Cool because I’m the coolest and proudest dad they know, right?
MR: Final word to your legion of fans…
All I can say is thank you. Their support during my playing days and their messages in reaction to my retirement has been nothing short of amazing.
MR: We wish you all the best in your future undertakings…
TO: Thanks mate!
MR: Rfamily budaa…
TO: Rfamily budaaaaaaaaa!